BUILD: Making the Blinkybug Kit

BUILD: Making the Blinkybug Kit

When I first got this Kit in the mail from the Maker Shed I stared puzzled at the box. What exactly was the point? A bug that blinks it’s eyes when it senses movement? As I opened the box and checked out the contents I realized that the Blinkybugs don’t walk, talk, chalk or really do anything besides lighting up.

But what I learned as I started to build them is that they do something more important than all that. They make you excited to build, and in essence are simply fun. Also as I was showing my friends what I was up to, I quickly learned that they make great gifts as well. I had at least four people ask me what I was going to do with them (in a hinting sort of way). So I am giving all four of them away as gifts. I even made a Halloween variant for some of my friends. So besides being a fun, simple kit to build I am guessing you want to see what these friendly little LED bugs do? Check the video out after the jump along with all the macro lens photos on how to build it.

Here is what the creator of this kit thought “This grew into the idea of planting little robotic insects around the city… on trees, fences, etc, to surprise people and just add a bit
of strangeness to the environment. I wanted them to blink intermittently, and respond to their environment, which led to the idea of the antennae acting as a spring switch, so the eyes would
blink whenever the wind blew
.” – Ken Murphy.
Video Showing our little friend in Action. He responds to movement as his antennae are moved. This completes the circuit (which is his body) and causes his eyes to flicker on and off.


This is the simple little cardboard box it comes in. Nice and tidy. I also think this makes a cool little wrapped gift under the Christmas tree don’t you? Also I appreciated a good color photo of what you were getting inside. No instruction manual though…have to grab that from their Web Site.


Everything from the kit all laid out. Not too intimidating, ever for a rookie maker like me (right Marc?). The only thing I had trouble with in this package was the music wire a.k.a. guitar wire.


The next step is to determine the polarity of the LED and twist the correct ends together. I found these LED’s really easy to bend and twist to my will. Unlike say, the will of my dog who loved to get in almost every photo I took. These LED’s will be the bugs eyes and are attached to the bottom of the battery.


Next it’s time to measure your copper pipe. I found this to be an uneccessary step as you can almost eyeball where to bend it. The end results is that you want to make a U shape with the pipe. But not just yet.


Ahh detail work! Not too hard, but this step requires you to put the guitar screen into the copper pipe. After doing this is when you bend the pipe into the U shape as I mentioned before. This goes on top of the battery/bug.


Next it’s time to make the body of our LED bug which consists of a flat battery along with some conductive tape and the copper pipe. This is the main connection which makes the bug work.


The bugs body should look something like this. The best part is that things can be a little off. As long as you can close the circuit as it’s feelers…well feel…then the bug will work great.


Now grab that pipe cleaner and chop the heck out of it, well at least chop it into three pieces. Get to twisting and then use the sticky pad o glue they include and attach the legs to the bottom of your bug.


Once everything is attached your bug is almost ready to go. Here comes the hard part. You need to adjust it’s antennae to go through the LED loops at the front of the bug (see video). This takes some time as you have to adjust the wires and the LED loops at basically the same time. Or just make it not sensitive to it’s environment and turn it into a radass little nightlight with two states. On or Off.

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