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14 Steps with Pictures This animated "haunted" Ouija board was made as a Halloween prop.
This was made with mainly junk materials from my garage, but if you have none of the parts you should be able to source them reasonably cheaply enough. You need handy man skills, some electronic know how, and be able to program a microcontroller or pic (or know someone who can do it for you!)Update AlertThe board can now say messages sent to it via a serial device step 12 covers the changes I made!This is part build log, part how to. I messed up when I built mine, and used some poorly finished pine and my not so great woodworking pandora charm bracelet lead to nasty corner joints, which left me needing to veneer the wood with a thin plywood. so keep this in mind, and perhaps use some nice ply to start with, and skip needing to do the annoying veneer finish. Alternatively, you could use the oldest and most worn timber, for that 'ye olde' antique look. I originally made mine to be about the size of a sheet of A4 paper, as I was going to print out the Ouija top and glue it on. That also worked with fitting in my proposed mechanical setup size wise. I made the box deeper than needed for the mechanics as I wanted it to seem like a piece of furniture rather than a 'board'. Step 3: Build the Magnet Bracket Next I built the magnet bracket that attaches to the toothed belt. This was so I could then work out what height the stepper motor and pulleys needs to be mounted in the box. I cut two small pieces of aluminium angle. One of the pieces was been shaped to allow it to securely clamp the belt, yet still smoothly pass over a pulley. I stuck some felt on top of the magnet as a low friction pandora bracelet charms price surface. it will get stuck somewhere, or worse will affect the magnetic field and make the magnet seem weaker. Step 4: Mount the Motor Show All Items Now I had the bracket, I measured what height I had to install the motor and pulleys so that the magnet would be level with the top of the box. I then mounted the motor, and cut the pulley mounting blocks from scrap wood, and screwed them to the bottom of the case. Step 5: Pulley Shafts Show All Items With the pulley blocks and layout ready, we need to install some shafts for the pulleys to run in. I had some brass stock that was the right size, so it was simply a matter of cutting off 3 lengths (you will need the third in the next step), drilling the holes in the pulley mounting blocks and expoxying them in. I then used a screw to loosely mount one end, and the other it pulled by some springs (pulled from old pens) to keep the belt tight. The tension is not very critical at all you just need enough to make sure it doesn't slip. Step 7: Guide Rails and Home Switch I found that the weight of the bracket and magnet made the belt twist, if it is running without the planchette. The magnet in the planchette pulls the bracket up straight in norrmal use, but I wanted it to be able to cope with people picking up the planchette without it breaking or getting stuck. I used some piano wire to make some guide rails. now we need it to move!Attached is the schematic and PCB done in eagle cad. They are a bit more complex to drive than 6 wire ones, but come with the bonus of higher torque. The code uses only 14% of the flash on this controller, so there is room aplenty for more customising!The circuit has my own ISP header easy to figure out the pinouts for another programmer if you need to. Ok, so now the magnet assembly is moving how you want, you now need to make the 'lid' with the Ouija symbols on it. This usually is the alphabet, 0 9, yes, no and goodbye. There are no hard and fast rules on how they should look or where they need to go (I have seen literally hundreds of different designs), so do it how you want!My original plan was to use a sheet of plexiglass or Perspex for the lid, and print out my Ouija design on some parchment looking paper and varnish/glue it on top so there is an idea for you. You don't want to use your good iron here as it is pretty tough on the tip. If you have a woodburner tool (which is kinda like a soldering iron) then you have better tools than me, and you'll have more fun than I did. I also got to discover that harder grain takes ages to burn into, and that my extremely el cheapo plywood had filler in some areas filler does not burn well!!I then gave the lid 3 coats of stain/varnish with a light sanding between. I used a satin finish for two reasons. firstly because I wanted it to look old, and secondly I wanted the plachette to move in a slightly jerky movement (like a disembodied hand moving it) pandora silver rings rather than just slip and slide around. The satin finish gives a bit more friction. I think matte would be too much, and would end up shiny from the sliding over time anyway. Next I needed to make the planchette. I decided after a few sketches, and after how my lid came out that I would like to have a bit of a steampunk theme, so I designed it in that way. I sketched out this shape onto some scrap 6 mm ply (left over from the base of the box) and cut it out. Next I drilled the hole which is pretty common on the planchettes I have seen. I then got my piece of magnet matched with the magnet on the bracket/belt in the box, and carved out a small recess on the bottom of the planchette with a knife to fit the magnet (and deep enough for the magnet to sit flush with the surface of the wood). The magnet is not centered pandora music australia with the planchette on purpose as it helps make the movement look less mechanical (or symmetrical). Important! Make sure you match the magnet if you don't it will be repelled by the one on the bracket inside the box, and won't work. There you go, it is pretty much finished now. All you need is some finishing details. I added some brass box corners, legs and beading trim to make it look more like a piece of furniture than just a box. All in all I think it came out pretty good. one of those satisfying projects that actually came out somewhat how I hoped!This was my 1st instructable. I hope you enjoyed it. I was blown away by how much work is needed to do one of these it really helps me appreciate the work everyone else has put into this site. Thanks everyone!Considering this is my 1st instructable, I would really appreciate comments and feedback. The Ouija board is now functional with full capacity it can 'carry on' as it did originally, but connecting a serial device can invoke new behavior:The board can talk to any serial device (so if you had a fancy bluetooth module or mobile phone or something tucked away in the case) for programming messages. Because my original design didn't expect this capability, there are some mechanical limitations I can't get the planchette to reach the L, M, Y or Z, but in this age of txt msgs isn't too bad. With a bit of code work, you can also have proportional speed control using PWM for the two motors, so the PCB could be handy as a robotics motor control system. I considering making one. People will obviously assume that there are mechanisms inside the box. To make it more mysterious, I thinking I might buy an actual Ouija Board (from Hasbro) and make it the top of the box, and sink the box into a hole cut in the top of a table with a table cloth on it. Embed a magnet in the cheap plastic planchette.
Now it just look like a kid Ouija Board, sitting on a table, but it actually work! I could put it on my front porch with a hidden mic so that I can hear people asking it questions, and type answers into my computer. Should be good for freaking some people out! Yep, that would be a great way to do it. I am planning on a new one this year, challenging myself to make it as thin as possible and to reach every letter and have the bluetooth receiver from the start.
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