Making My Own Switch

Today I am experimenting with switches. I was inspired by a claw machine. I want to create a switch that can detect when the claw had reached the bottom.

My idea is to fabricate two trapezoids, then connect them together in such a way that if they are being dropped down from above, when they reach the bottom, they will separate. The contact point in the middle will be the key to making the switch work. When it is floating, the two trapezoids will touch, forming a connection. When it touches the ground, the two trapezoids are separated, therefore breaking the connection.

The idea is to create something like this

I started with sawing out the trapezoids out of some scrap wood that I have from a previous project. What I first wanted to do is to hot glue gun a piece of cloth to act as a hinge for the trapezoids, then fit in a couple of wires in there to act as the conductor to make the circuit.

Scrap wood from a previous project

However, I started to run into an issue. The wires I was using were too stiff and the connection that they’re making by pure contact isnt that great. Plus, the wood I was using wasn’t heavy enough to combat the stiffness of the wires. Due to time limitations, I pulled a hail mary by using aluminum foil to increase the surface area of the wire and came up with the following.

Circuit when closed (floating)
Circuit when opened (on the ground)
A video of the switch in action

I enjoyed this mini-project, even though I wished I could have put more time into this. One of the lessons I learned from this project is also to take more pictures in every step of the way. Here’s to more exciting projects in the future!

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