Make Your Own Flashing Lights Freeform Sculpture With a 555 Timer

21,579

139

16

Introduction: Make Your Own Flashing Lights Freeform Sculpture With a 555 Timer

About: Building cool-looking freeform electronics circuits and other things

As always, you have 2 options you can either watch the video above or follow this instructable to create your very own flashing lights freeform circuit sculpture.


The 555 timer IC is an 8-pin integrated chip that is used in a variety of timer, delay, pulse generation and oscillator applications. It is known as one of the most popular integrated circuit ever made.


Now this sculpture is a bit of a challenging one, as we will be using a smaller package (SOIC-8) 555 timer. However, the template provided will help you.


It may look a little hard but with some time, patience, and the right tools it is definitely possible.

Supplies

Now the supplies are very important to ensure that you get the correct results when producing the freeform circuits. The specific supplies used in the projects are provided below, with relevant links:


1206 SMD LEDs: https://geni.us/CVbhb

1206 SMD Resistor Kit: https://geni.us/1206SMDResistorkit

SMD Capacitor: https://geni.us/SMDcapacitors

555 Timer: https://geni.us/NE555

0.8mm Brass Wire: https://geni.us/4mlZxT

MiniBreadboard: https://geni.us/Mini_Breadboard

9V Battery: https://geni.us/9Vbattery

9V Battery Connector: https://geni.us/9vbatteryconnector

Soldering Iron: https://geni.us/sx3fO0

Solder wire: https://geni.us/zCs7KAY

Flux: https://geni.us/Fluxpen

Wire cutters: https://geni.us/wire_cutter

Pliers: https://geni.us/Pliers0

Tweezers: https://geni.us/precisiontweezers

Double-sided Tape: https://geni.us/doublesidetape0

Paper Template: Provided as an attachment


Remember, you do not need to have the exact supplies as me and can always use similar tools to create the circuits.

Step 1: Circuit Diagram

First with the basics, if you would like to virtually test the circuit and play around with the components. You can follow the link to the Tinkercad Circuit here: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/jaZdfGmCIl7.


The design is based on a schematic from here: https://www.555-timer-circuits.com/flashing-railroad-lights.html


If you want to adjust the speed of the flashing lights you will need to change the value of the capacitor.

Step 2: Using the Template

There are multiple copies of the circuit on the same page, I prefer this as it allows you to use 1 template to measure the brass wires and the other template can be used in conjunction with doublesided tape to make and hold the circuit sculpture.


The template also contains the circuit from the front and back view. If you decide to use the front circuit template the soldering is a little easier, however the soldering will look a lot nicer if you use the back circuit template as the soldering joints are all hidden.


There are multiple templates which also helps when you mess up the circuit :D.

Step 3: Placement of Components

So, this is where the templates and the double-sided tape come in very handy.

Secure the small SMD components to the template and ensure that the polarity of the LEDs and the capacitor are correct.

Step 4: Soldering and a Lot of Patience

Take your time at this stage and use some flux to help with the soldering.


I would also recommend holding down the components with a set of tweezers, so they don't move when you are soldering.


The first time I tried to build this, my soldering was not great and it didn't work so I made a second version which finally worked and also looked a lot nicer.

Step 5: Battery Connection

I am powering the entire circuit with a 9V battery. But just wanted to share how I took the photo and how the little sculpture was powered with the 2 brass wires from the side.

Step 6: Finish

That's all!


I do have to agree this is a little challenging, but it is a lot of fun. If you do make your own do share them here. You can also try to follow this guide and make something similar without using all SMD Components.

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Block Code Contest

      Block Code Contest
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    16 Comments

    0
    ELECTRONFLYER1
    ELECTRONFLYER1

    Question 23 days ago

    THE RESISTOR FROM PIN 2 TO PIN 3 IS NOT CONVENTIONAL. CAN YOU POST A SCHEMATIC ? HARD TO FOLLOW THE CROSS CONNECTS ON BOTTOM OF 555 TKS

    0
    Mad4400
    Mad4400

    Answer 9 days ago

    This circuit utilizes the output (PIN 3) pins ability to sink current in the "OFF" state instead of using the dedicated discharge (PIN 7) pin. Since the total current from the capacitor discharging and one LED is less than the maximum sink current it is a acceptable alternative.

    0
    IVT
    IVT

    14 days ago

    Nice building technique.

    0
    ELECTRONFLYER1
    ELECTRONFLYER1

    23 days ago

    SOME POSTED CAN YOU MAKE THE CIRCUIT SELF CHANGE A LIGHT SENSITIVE VARIISTOR WOULD CHANGE SPEED WITH AMBIAN LIGHT

    0
    ELECTRONFLYER1
    ELECTRONFLYER1

    23 days ago

    SOMEONE ASKED IF YOU CAN USE A VARIABLE CAP HARD TO FIND A LARGE VALUE VARIABLE CAP A VARIABLE RESISTOR WOULD BE A BETTER CHOICE

    0
    4dcircuitry
    4dcircuitry

    Reply 24 days ago

    Thanks :)

    0
    jdg5111
    jdg5111

    Question 27 days ago

    Hi, what are the values of the resistors and capacitor in step 1?

    0
    4dcircuitry
    4dcircuitry

    Answer 25 days ago

    For the 2 resistors going into the LEDs I am using 330Ω resistor (You can technically use 220Ω - 470Ω)

    The middle resistor is a 47KΩ Resistor.

    The value of the capacitor can vary and this will effect the frequency of the blinking. I am using a 22uF Capacitor. (Increase the capacitance to increase the delay between the Flashing)

    0
    ak08820
    ak08820

    Question 27 days ago

    1. Could you make a 4.5V circuit so that an USB cable or an old phone charger can be used as a power source? 9V batteries are getting too expensive. One can use a 9V adapter but USB and 4.5V are more abundant.
    2. Could you use a variable capacitor to make the flashing rate changeable? Or some kind of circuit so that the flashing rate changes by itself?

    0
    4dcircuitry
    4dcircuitry

    Answer 25 days ago

    Sorry just saw this today, don't get notifications for comments for some weird reason :/

    1. Yep you should be able to power the circuit with a 4.5V source (Even 3*AA battery) I don't see any problems with it. Do let me know if you give it a go with a USB powered version (I may give it a go as well with some other circuits in the future).

    2. I personally haven't played with a variable capactior on the circuits (it should work). To change the flashing rate by itself it would require some further components, which would make the circuit a lot more complicated to make.


    0
    turtlewax
    turtlewax

    25 days ago

    If you clean the copper wire at the ends with a little abrasive pad or steel wool, the solder will flow better. CLEAN COPPER AND FLUX is the key to soldering pipes and wire. :) Other than that, great video and well done.

    0
    4dcircuitry
    4dcircuitry

    Reply 25 days ago

    Thanks for the tip :D

    I will have to give it a go on the next little circuit that I am making.


    0
    hdreiling
    hdreiling

    6 weeks ago on Step 6

    Hey cool.
    I built it in the 90s with throgh hole parts.