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DIY Operation Game

Clever Engineering, Tech Wizardry

overview

we love this classic game of dare-devil surgery that both buzzes and lights-up when you’ve made a mis-step (yikes!) super cool to make a DIY version that does both too!

45 minutes

maker checklist

  • cardboard box top (4″ x 6″)
  • battery holder w/switch and leads 
  • 2 AA batteries 
  • copper tape (1/4″ wide)
  • robot doodle (printed or DIY!)
  • buzzer alarm (3 volt)
  • white LED (10mm)
  • aluminum foil (6″ x 6″)
  • double-stick foam tape squares 
  • alligator clip (12″ long)
  • 3 plastic bottle caps
  • 3 teeny tiny toys
  • metal tweezers 
  • tape and glue stick 
  • good scissors
  • x-acto craft knife

instructions

start with your robot…

1

design a robot or other figure for the top of your box (this is your patient!) – or copy out template. color as you like.

2

cut out the spots that you will *remove* parts from.

punch a hole at the top of the robot template where the (LED) will be.

3

set the template on the box top and trace these shapes in pencil. don’t glue it into place yet, this comes last!

4

now, cut these same shapes out of the box; the three removal sites, plus the circle at the top for the LED.

working inside your box top

1

cut and fold a piece of aluminum foil to fit inside the box, creating a conductive surface. make sure the foil covers the area that includes the three cut shapes but excludes the hole for the LED at the top.

2

tape the edges of the foil sheet to the box so that it stays in place.

3

locate the 3 cut-out shapes and punch through the foil at these points, gently with scissors. (don’t cut away the foil!)

working on top of the box

1

nimbly, wrap the foil up and around the edges of the cut-outs.

use small strips of copper tape to fold around the edges and hold the foil in place.

2

the goal is for the edges of the cutouts to have a conductive surface (of foil or copper tape) so keep working with the copper tape and foil as needed.

3

now set the robot template on top of the box. the foil-wrapped edges should show slightly through the cut areas. glue or tape into place.

5

insert the LED through the hole at the top.

on the inside of the box, press the LED legs down, noting the anode (+) and cathode (-) legs, lightly in pencil, so that you can identify them easily.

set up your components

1

insert the batteries into the holder and set to *off*!

2

affix the battery holder to the side of the inside of the box using double-stick foam tape. the battery holder should be oriented so that the leads are pointing towards the middle of the box and the switch is accessible (to turn off and on).

3

affix the alarm buzzer in the adjacent corner also with double-stick foam tape. again, make sure the leads are pointing towards the center.

note: make sure the legs of the LED stay exposed and accessible.

connect your components

1

connect the cathode (-) leg of the LED to the black (-) lead of the battery holder. twist together and wrap with copper tape.

2

connect the anode (+) leg of the LED to the foil area using a strip of copper tape.

3

connect the negative lead (black wire) of the alarm to the negative lead of the battery holder with copper tape, adding it to the connection with the LED. tape the entire connection to the box top (not touching the foil!) with plain tape.

4

connect the positive lead of the alarm (red wire) to the foil with copper tape.

5

connect the positive lead from the battery holder (red wire) to one end of the alligator clip. wrap to secure.

add the robot parts…

1

glue three plastic bottle caps to the inside of the game, under the holes (or “operation sites”). drop the tiny parts into the caps.

2

select three tiny toys or beads for the “robot parts” that need to be removed during “operation.”

3

play operation by using the alligator clip or tweezers to remove the tiny robot parts *without* touching the sides of the holes. this takes a very steady hand! if you touch the sides, the LED will light up and the buzzer will sound. try it out!