New Year’s Eve ball drop in your kitchen

[Tech B.] hacked together a Ball Drop for New Year’s Eve using stuff he had lying around. The ball itself is an old Christmas ornament that he cut in half and filled with 14 LEDs and a 9V battery. He finished up that portion of the project by gluing the halves back together and adding a hole for the guide rod. The base is made of some cardboard boxes and hides an Arduino, a servo motor, an LCD screen, and the base for the vertical rod. When the last ten seconds of the year are counted down, a servo lowers the ball by unspooling some yarn that loops over the top of the rod. As the yarn is slowly dished out gravity pulls the ball toward its goal. We’ve embedded [Tech B.'s] demonstration video after the break.


  1. Scuzz says:

    Neat! Though I was hoping that the ball would have all tri-color LEDs and when it hit the bottom there was going to be some crazy and awesome little light show.

    This would definitely make me a bit more invested in New Years! Maybe I should build my own?

  2. Tech B. says:

    I had a tight budget and three days to build it. Trust me, I wanted to do so much more.

  3. Caleb says:

    am i the only one that was disappointed the first time time they saw the ball drop in nyc? i was expecting explosives. perhaps i shall make my own explosive new years ball!

  4. Bill says:

    For someone that was bored, looked around and thought “What could I build?”

    This is awesome. Rock on.

  5. Tech B. says:


    It should be New Years Ball instead of Drop…..

    I was very disappointed also. They could have at least let the ball drop the full length of the building and let every one see it shatter when it hit the ground.

  6. bluewraith says:

    Nice, but instead of a servo couldn’t you have used a regular DC motor and PWM to slow it down? Might have saved a few lines of code, and the jerky movements, unless that is the string getting caught or slipping.

  7. Stealth- says:

    Nice job TechB, looks awesome :D

  8. vonskippy says:

    Someone needs to get out and get a little human interaction.

  9. Tech B. says:


    The servo has enough torque to hold the ball at the top, with a regular motor it wouldn’t hold. A friend suggested using a car antenna that retracts.

  10. dave dave says:

    this is one of the saddest things i’ve ever seen on this site :/

  11. Spork says:

    @Tech B.
    Pulleys or gears could reduce torque required by the motor.

    Things that would be on my wishlist:
    -LED’s should flash and have reflectors, as well as being inside the ball.
    -RGB LED’s would be cool but not necessary.
    -A smooth falling motion would be awesome.
    -All electronics built in to the ball (including gear motors with rubber wheels for travel) would be amazing to see.
    -I would remove arduino and LCD as well as using Lion or AA cells to simplify the project.

  12. therian says:

    such short video radiate so much sadness

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