Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reflex Game

[Reflex Game  Parts]
The Post: This is a post on how to make the thinger to the right (it's a little reflex game I made) with all kinds of neat tools.

The Tools: If you're thnking about making something like this, you'll need the following:
The Game: Each person puts their thumb on a button holder (cylinder thing in images) and pushes their red button when the LEDs reach the green light.  The lights in front flash red, then yellow, then green (as seen on board in first image).  Whoever hits the button after the light has turned green first, wins.  The game indicates who won by flashing an LED (above the colored LEDs) closest to the winners button.  If someone hits their button before the light is green, they loose.

The Board: A soldering iron (or gun) is a great thing to have.  That way, you can steal other peoples breadboard chips and have fun with them!  A soldering iron is good enough for this game but guns get hotter and can be used for more applications.  This is what I did with the board:
  1. Find heat gun and black shrink
  2. Slide shrink down the wires around the button bottoms as pictured where the wire is exposed
  3. Heat shrink with heat gun until it does its thing (shrinks onto the wires).  Do not melt things
  4. Find a soldering iron (I prefer ones that glow orange from Canadian tire, it's a lot better/hotter then the wireless ones)
  5. Find Solder (I used lead-free)
  6. Find wet sponge (a real one like what comes with this, not one of those plastic ones that will melt and attach itself to your gun when it gets hot)
  7. Insert a wire, resisters, light, chip, or other parts onto the boards front at it's desired length (the LEDs have to pop through the metal case, so make sure they stick off the board evenly)
  8. Turn the board around and take a small amount of solider to attach the piece to the board
  9. Dab soldering gun off the sponge to keep it clean
  10. If there are long bits hanging off the back, cut them with a wire cutter
  11. Repeat starting at step 7 until all parts installed
  12. Tada, board!

[Button Holder Top]
The Button Holders: Lathes are pretty neat.  You can set up measurements so you do not need to leave any marks, and pretty much everything on a lathe can be made on a lathe.  You can make screws, rods, and all sorts of funny shapes with them.  It reminds me of metal pottery.  Except instead of Patrick Swayze guiding your hands through mud, you have the lathe, throwing metal spirals at you.  They are hot, stay away from them.  Also keep away from baggy clothes because like Patrick Swayze in a 90's girl dream, the lathe will rip them off.  The button holders were made with a metal lathe, which enabled very precise measurements (which is good, because you want it to fit snug).  The steps are below:

[Button Holder Bottom]
  1. Find metal cylinder chunk that may or may not be kinda dirty/rusty looking
  2. Install metal chunk (which is going to be the button holder) in the lathe
  3. Perform a facing to the top (and bottom if you like) with the help of our cross-slide by shaving off the first few layers on the front and bottom of what I'm calling the chunk.  This makes the face clean and shinny
  4. Install the small drill bit on the taper that's the width of the push button
  5. Put a drop of oil on the tip of the drill bit every time you change it, as it gets hot
  6. Set up measurements for the middle of the cylinder
  7. Drilling hole through the center of the cylinder.  This is where the top hole comes from as seen in the first button holder pic
  8. Repeat drilling increasing the size of the drill bit each time until the hole is the desired circumference (the button should fit into it).  Instead of going directly through the chunk each time, only go up to the top, leaving half the width of the button top (so you can press the button when it's in the holder).  This can be seen in the second button holder pic (there's a smaller hole in a bigger hole).  As you can imagine, the last drill bit was quite large
  9. Set up the measurements for the outside thickness of the button holder
  10. You cannot remove cm at a time (unless you want to break something) so if the chunk is a lot thicker you have to shave off about a mm at a time
  11. Set the lathe up the same way you did a facing but this time slide the chunk back and forth via a handwheel on the carriage to shave off a small amount of metal around the entire surface.  Make sure the top of the buttons will fit next to each other once they are in their casing
  12. The last layer should take off a very small amount of metal, giving it a smooth appearance as seen on the images here
  13. We now have a shiny metal cylinder.  To make the edges less sharp shave off several layers off the edges to create a rounded edge
  14. Setup measurements for the hole slightly smaller (not even a mm) then the large holes in the sheet metal).
  15. Perform step 9-12 again but this time leave a portion of the top alone.  Perform this step until the button holder can sit in the hole in the case (known by the measurements mentioned in 14), it should not fall through it.
  16. Sweep up hundreds of metal spirals
  17. Tada, button holder!

The Case: The sheet metal I had came with 2 pre-cut button holder holes and cut to the right shape.  Sheet metal shears can be used to cut the straight lines, while there are special heavy-duty circle cutters that are commercially available that attaches to a drill as a drill bit and can cut larger holes.  A sheet metal nibbler can make neater shapes.  These are the steps I made to create the reflex game:
  1. Spray paint a piece of sheet metal blue on one side
  2. Find something pointy
  3. Mark the measurements where the bends and holes for the LEDs should go with a sharp metal tool.  You can see the blue paint and the markings I've made in the pic.
  4. Find a drill with a bit slightly larger then a LED
  5. Drill holes as marked in step 3
  6. Bend the sheet with a press break, making sure to bend things in the right order or it will not fit together
  7. Fasten battery holder with rivets with the help of a rivet gun (what a handy little tool)

The Finished Product:  For some reason, I don't have a picture of that.  But to finish, perform the following:
  1. Attach button holders into case
  2. Attach buttons into button holders
  3. Attached the board into the case, making sure the LEDs come out through the case.  You may need to use spacers to get the board in the case at the desired width away from the case
  4. Tada, Game!
This is me, take it or leave it NL.

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