Kid DIY


CJ_MiniBots_06_Decorated

This is a challenging project, but a great introduction to simple circuits. And how fun is it to make something that actually moves and lights up?! This project is best for children 7 and up, and adult help will be needed. The site referenced in the supply list–Electronic Goldmine–is a fantastic resource for inexpensive electronic parts and LEDs in small quantities.

Supplies:

1 cork
1 pager vibrator motor (www.goldmine-elec.com)
1 LED
1 3V battery
Hot glue gun and X-acto knife (for adult use)
Sandpaper – a little square
Masking tape (or any type of tape) & Scissors
Wire to connect the circuit (a 12” stem of uncoated florist wire works great!)
Googlie-eyes, feathers, markers, little bits to decorate

Project Steps:

Prepare the cork: Create a flat bottom by slicing carefully with the craft knife, or by sanding. In the larger end, cut a slit, parallel to the flat bottom, to fit about 1/3 of the battery. In the smaller end, on the top side, cut a small portion to house the vibrator motor.

Prepare the motor: Attach a 2”-3” piece of wire to each end of the pager motor. Tape the wire at the connection points with a small bit of masking tape. This will hold the connection in place and prevent the wires from crossing. Insert the motor into the proper section of the cork and hot glue if necessary to hold in place. It’s always a good idea to test your motor first to make sure it’s working – hold the bits of wire to either end of the battery (don’t worry, you won’t be shocked!) and make sure that it turns on. If not, you may need a stronger connection, new battery, or new motor. If it buzzes around, you’re ready to keep going.

Now, take the LED and identify the anode end (with the longer leg and smaller flag in the bulb) and the cathode end (with the shorter leg and larger flag). The anode leg must be wired to positive side of the battery, and the cathode to the negative side.

Insert the LED into the cork by pressing the legs into the cork gently. Now, attach the wires from the pager motor to the legs of the LED by passing them through and wrapping them around once or twice. Cover with tape to ensure a tight connection and to make sure the wires on each leg do not touch. Again, this is a great place to confirm that your LED is working by touching the ends of the wires to the battery.

Now insert the battery into the battery slot and glue into place. The wire coming from the anode should be taped to the positive end of the battery. The wire coming from the cathode leg should be taped to the negative side of the battery. You may need to use a bit of tape at the edge of the battery, to ensure that the wire passing to the underside does not have any contact with the top side of the battery. Instead of using a ‘switch’ – the switch is simply taping (or un-taping) the wire to the battery.

Now add character!

 

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