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Make: Projects

New Project: World Control Panel

This Project will show you how to build a simple world control panel. This project uses a ton of LEDs and switches to light up different parts of the world.

New Project: World Control Panel

My son Harlan and his pals love to play “Agents.” When he asked me if I could build him a control panel that had “a bunch of switches and random blinking lights,” I couldn’t have been happier.

I have to admit, I have a bit of a control panel fetish, and my favorite thing about electronics tinkering is making lights blink — which is just about all this device really does.

I immediately imagined some kind of backlit, brushed-metal map of the world, with a radar scanner and a variety of indicator lights and toggle switches that would allow him to com- municate with field agents, remotely dispatch weaponized sharks, or detect enemy activity.

The console employs a combination of readymade and custom circuits to achieve various lighting and sound effects. Ours is used for world domination, but the same basic panel would work equally well for tracking the migration of a swarm of Monarch butterflies, or detecting unicorns, if that’s what you need. Here’s how I built it.

Steve Lodefink

Steve Lodefink

An inveterate tinkerer and "broad-spectrum hobbyist," Steve just can't say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: "I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I've been doing it ever since." He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life's great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. "I'm a simple man," he says. He looks at life's debris at

  • Tom

    maplins still need help? contact me:)

  • Brianne Crawford

    Can I buy this? Seriously…

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