Impractical Switches For The Bored Maker

Cabin fever: the inability to socialize with other humans does weird things to the human brain. Then again some of us are born to stand out, and one such amazing maker, [Lee], is spending time making weird switches from basically anything.

So what would you consider weird? How about using a piece of pasta? How about using the conductivity of an empty sink? There is even an experiment with breakfast cereal, though we do not recommend it for production use. [Lee] continues to pour experiments into Twitter and recently has gotten some conductive tape. Stick some on a game joystick and you got yourself an instant switch on a switch.

These experiments prove that there is a lot you can do with the stuff you have around your house and the other end of the circuit doesn’t necessarily need to be a humble LED. You could get more interesting results with adding the likes of a microcontroller like an ATtiny. Coupling it with a DIY LED badge would be a great idea and we’d love to see what you come up with.

14 thoughts on “Impractical Switches For The Bored Maker

  1. The common or garden wooden clothes peg (pin) makes neat switches, either put a screw in each side of the jaws or wrap with a foil tape and you’ve got a normally closed switch you can momentary open by squeezing. Or you can use it a movement/position latching indicator by putting a smooth bit of card, plastic from a tub or something similar between the jaws and a hole for string or mechanism that pulls it out. You can bias it “just so” with rubber bands around either end to make it weaker or stronger.

    1. You’re taking about the two-piece spring-loaded type, yes? We’ve got the one-piece style here – no moving pieces.

      Oh for my lack of foresight in buying the wrong type! ☹️

        1. sized. Aspirin sized deposit of Boric Acid.

          “Field experience demonstrates that the visual method is capable of detecting leakage rates as low as 0.0006 kg/s (0.01 gpm), but the sensitivity can be even greater in some cases. An aspirin-size deposit of boric acid (approximately 400 mg) can deposit from about 0.95 L (0.25 gal) of water and could be detectable during a visual examination of reactor components. That amount of boric acid could accumulate in about a week from a leakage rate as small as 6.3 x 10–7 kg/s (10–5 gpm).”

          https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7f27/7587de347a55c6d522d89d7ae0cc308521db.pdf

    2. The wooden one with springs can be used as a really good tripwire switch.
      Put two drawing pins/thumbtacks opposite each other in the jaws of the clothespin and connect wires to each.
      Put a small piece of cardboard attached to the tripwire in between.
      Had a lot of fun with these when I was a little boy.

    3. I made these for some toys for my son when he was young. Mostly b/c it was easy for him to manipulate, but I’ll admit that I was also hoping for the physical completing the circuit to rub off on him. Freaking tiger dads.

      But yeah. Foil tape and a clothespin. Piece of cardboard stuck in-between to turn it off. FTW.

  2. I thought the Switch picture was him using an LED as a light sensor, so turning the Switch on would switch the circuit on.

    Yo dog, I heard you like switches, so I put a Switch in your switch….

  3. I like the cereal switch, hook it up to an arudino that says “Nom, nom, nom” every time you take a spoonful! Would that be an example of cerial communication?

      1. This whole thread seems a bit surreal… and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

        The most impractical switches I’ve ever seen are the ones Netgear puts out, anyways… ;)

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