A Functional Sonic Screw Driver (Well, Kind Of)

Sonic Screwdriver Plans

[Jerome Kelty] just finished building this awesome data-logging Sonic Screwdriver with his 6-year-old son [Sam]. The Halloween previous, [Jerome’s] older son had dressed up as the Doctor, which had inspired [Sam] to make his own Sonic Screwdriver — however he declared that his screwdriver needed to actually work!

They sat down together and decided what it needed to be able to do. [Sam] has a pair of hermit crabs, so they thought it would be handy to be able to measure the temperature and the humidity of their habitat. It needed a flashlight for obvious 6-year old reasons, and it had to make the right sound effect when you used it too!

[Jerome’s] first thought was to 3D print it, but was met with a resounding no: “It needs to be metal!”

So out came the sketchpad and they started designing it to be cut on the lathe, using a combination of aluminum, brass and wood.

Sonic Screwdriver GutsMany weekends later [Sam] and his dad finished the body of the screwdriver and started work on the electronics. To keep it simple they used an Arduino Pro Mini 5V with a Sparkfun OpenLog to record all the data — and a handful of sensors of course!


After modifying the body a few times they finally got all the electronic guts to fit inside the screw driver. It features an SD card you can remove to see the OpenLog data, but as a “cool factor” [Jerome] also programmed in the temperature sensor to output to the RGB LED, so little [Sam] can point at things to determine how warm or cold they are.

Cool project [Jerome], looks like [Sam] is well on his way to becoming a maker in your footsteps!

14 thoughts on “A Functional Sonic Screw Driver (Well, Kind Of)

  1. I don’t think I have ever felt the need to leave a comment on anything I have ever read on here before, but I had to say that this is awesome, and even more awesome because he made it for his son.

        1. Well … we didn’t even have an outhouse. We had to use a phone booth (which, of course, had a completely wrong color – it was yellow!) and pretended it was an outhouse that we took as a stand-in for a TARDIS.
          We did not have sticks, either. The girls who played the Daleks used up all sticks we could find.

          I am so happy that I am a grown-up now. I have my own stick and my own phone booth. I even painted the stick blue and changed the sounds of the phone booth. Now I just need someone to tell me how to loosen those damned hand breaks on the stick.

    1. Have you not learned? When someone says “Hey look at this cool thing I built for $4!” they usually mean “here’s this thing I built with $4 of new parts plus parts of a $1000 piece of equipment that died and I used a $5000 tool to assemble it all!”

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