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Popsicle Stick Switch

A momentary contact Single Pole Single Throw (S.P.S.T.) switch that is based on a Popsicle Stick. It is easy to build and the builder learns how a switch works.

Popsicle Stick Switch

I have been Workshop Editor for both Boys’ Quest and Fun For Kidz magazine for over 15 years. One of my early projects was a Morse Code Telegraph. Of course this project needed a switch to send out the code. I came up with the Popsicle Stick switch since it could be easily made from a Popsicle Stick (a regular craft stick also works fine) and a couple of screws. This I thought would be great for kids to make themselves since in making it they would learn the basic principles of an electric switch. In addition to having a nice sound to its name, the switch worked out better than I hoped. I have used it in numerous other projects, including my Wireless Telegraph, Popsicle Stick Electronic Organ, Solar Powered Flashlight, Electric Buzzer, Reaction Timer Game, Game Timer and more.

Steps

Step #1:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

Follow drawing and make marks on the Popsicle stick for the 1/8" holes that you drill as described in Step 2.

Step #2:

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Popsicle Stick Switch
  • Use a 1/8" drill bit to drill the three holes at the place you marked with a pencil. See Step 1.
  • Hint: Don't press hard with the drill or you might crack the stick. Take your time drilling.

Step #3:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

Use the holes you drilled in the Popsicle stick as a template and use a pencil to make marks on the baseboard. In the next step you will drill pilot holes where these marks indicate.

Step #4:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

Use a 1/16" drill bit to drill pilot holes in the baseboard at the pencil marks you made in Step 3.

Step #5:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

Start a 3/4" #6 wood screw in the pilot hole. See photo.

Step #6:

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Popsicle Stick Switch
  • Remove about an inch of insulation from one end of a wire.
  • Twist the bare end around the screw between its head and the base board.
  • Tighten the screw.

Step #7:

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Popsicle Stick Switch
  • Stick the 1/2" 6-32 machine screw in the hole where shown.
  • Twist on two 6-32 nuts.

Step #8:

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Popsicle Stick Switch
  • Fold a small piece of foam packing material and keep in place with a bit of transparent tape.
  • Stick two 3/4" #6 wood screws through the holes made in the Popsicle stick and press their tips through the foam as shown.

Step #9:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

As shown, attach the Popsicle stick to the baseboard by screwing in the two wood screws into the baseboard, using the pilot holes you drilled earlier as a guide.

Step #10:

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Popsicle Stick Switch
  • Remove an inch of an insulation from another wire and twist it around the 6-32 machine screw between the nuts.
  • Use long nosed pliers to tighten nuts.

Step #11:

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Popsicle Stick Switch

Use a narrow strip of duct tape to keep the wires in place.

Conclusion

This is a simple project but is quite useful especially in any homemade electronic games. It is inexpensive and yet quite reliable AND you can always fix it yourself if something does go wrong!

Tom Fox

I've been designing contraptions since I was 12. One early contraption I made was designed to turn a room light on when dark, nearly burned the house down! It also stunk the house up since its selenium rectifier overheated big time which is a real no-no.

I've learned a lot since then...thank God! Since I became interested in electricity about the time I started to crave hot dogs roasted on an open fire, I went to the Illinois Institute of Technology and received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. After that I started to turn out the electronic contraption designs and their prototypes at a furious pace. Many of these designs I had published in many electronic magazines such as Popular Electronics, Radio-Electronics, Modern Electronics, etc. etc. etc. and I am still doing it. My aim now is to instill in the viewer an interest in electronics AND knowledge of it as well. I firmly believe interest and motivation comes before knowledge--just look at the movie "October Sky"!


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