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A few months ago I decided to become a member of the local maker space, since I’ve been wanting to learn the tools of the maker trade for ages.
I had a tiny bit of Arduino experience and a had taken a Fusion-course here on Instructables. However I had no experience with a lasercutter, nor with any sort of intermediate Arduino programming or components besides the standard LED or simple sensor.
Since my nephew’s 6-years birthday was coming up in a few months I decided that I wanted to make him a present. Since he loves anything space-related (especially if it contains buttons and lights) I came up with the initial idea of making him a simple Arduino-based toy with some LED’s, buttons, a speaker, sliders etc.
So I trawled the internet for tutorials on simple Arduino toy tutorials to get inspired by, but I couldn’t quite find exactly what I was looking for. Jeff High Smith’s amazing spaceship toy and Duncan Jauncey’s remix of it were great inspirations, but were a bit too big a mouthful for me since I was lacking: a) Enough experience to build it, b) Enough time to gain the experience and c) I wanted the project to be controlled only by an Arduino to make it simpler (and cheaper) than having to interface with e.g. a Raspberry Pi or similar. Bob Lander’s beautiful little control panel toy, was also an inspiration, but I wanted to build something with a bit more interactivity.
So I started sketching down a few ideas for the control panel until I reached a look that I was happy with.
With the initial design in place (well - sketched out rather quickly on a piece of paper at least) I was ready to move on to actually figuring what it would take to build this - how many and which parts I would need, which Arduino controller to use etc.”

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