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Make: Projects

LED Robot Ornament

Make a simple circuit robot Christmas ornament.

LED Robot Ornament

Crafting under pressure is irresistible. This year the Craftzine gals suggested an ornament swap– 12 days before Christmas. With a lot on our plates we all agreed to make time for crafting eight handmade ornaments each, and the deadline made it even more intense. Cheers to speed crafting!

Steps

Step #1:

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  • Spray paint some scrap cardboard — I chose silver.
  • Sketch out your robot designs, either in a notebook first or directly on the cardboard.

Step #2:

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  • Cut out your robots' bodies.
  • Cut legs and arms from small strips of cardboard.

Step #3:

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LED Robot Ornament
  • Glue on arms and legs.
  • Keep a bowl of ice water nearby when using a hot glue gun.

Step #4:

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  • Pierce two holes for each LED with an awl.
  • Feed the LED legs through the holes, minding the polarity. The long (+) leads should both be facing the same way.

Step #5:

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  • On the back, twist the two long leads (+) together, and twist the two short leads (-) together. This is called wiring the LEDs in parallel.
  • Look for the (-) symbol near one side of the battery holder. Stack the holder on top of the LED leads matching + to + and - to -.
  • The circuit is the same as my LED shoe clips project as well as my firefly embroidery project.

Step #6:

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  • Use pliers to twist the LED leads around the battery holder legs, and insert a battery to confirm the circuit illuminates the robot's eyes.
  • Use hot glue to secure the battery holder while it's still on.

Step #7:

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  • Slide a strip of paper between the battery and the holder to provide a pull-to-start tab.
  • Insert the battery in the holder, pinching the paper strip between.
  • Write "pull here" on the paper strip.

Step #8:

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  • Draw buttons, dials, the current year, or any other decorations on your robot.
  • Don't forget to sign the back!
  • Glue on a loop of string for hanging.
  • Merry Xmas!

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and Director of Wearable Electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).


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