Category Archives: Stuff I have made for my son

Lego Batman — Making the minifigure look more like it does in the movie

My son has a fascination with Lego Batman.  Ok, I may have a bit to do with his fascination with Lego Batman, I’m the one that taught him to play it on our very old (but still functional) Wii.  When the Lego Batman movie came out we took him to see it and in the days after my wife got him several minifigres related to it.

Looking at the Batman minifigure, it irked me a bit that in the Lego Batman Movie, Batman’s eyes look like they light up, but the real Lego minifigure does not have light up eyes. Since my wife managed to score more than one Batman minifigure I decided to “enhance” one of them to look more like the movie.

The process was crude and simple.  I basically cut a slit into the head of the minifigure using the dremel.  The slit is in the same general area where the cut-outs for the eyes on Batman’s mask line up.  I then proceeded to grind down a blue LED to fit into the minifigure’s head.  The only reason I chose to use a blue LED is because I have a bunch of them left over from other projects.

Once the LED was stuffed into the head and light was shining out from the slit, it was time to make some hole in the minifigure’s body to accommodate the wires to power the LED.  Initially I thought of just stuffing a small battery into the minifigure’s chest, I quickly gave up on that idea (not much room in there).  Instead I ran wires down a hole I drilled into the “neck ” of the minifigure, then down a hole I drilled into one of the hips and finally out through the bottom of one of the legs into a hole I also drilled into a Lego brick.  The next step is building a small power supply to stuff into the Lego brick (although I may end up using more than one).

Overall the effect is close to what is seen in the movie [insert picture].  Of course the minifigure is no longer useful as a toy…  It is now more of a “showpiece”…

Lego Batman

Marquee Letters and a 555

I actually made this a while ago, but now I finally have some time to post about it.  This whole endeavor started with my wife picking up a set of marquee letters on clearance.  They are basically letters made out of white plastic with LEDs on them.  Construction wise, they are “OK”, the plastic is sturdy enough and the LEDs are bright.  But I was disappointed because the lights did nothing special, they just powered on.

I took a look at my parts drawer to see what I had available to make something more interesting out of these marquee letters.  There were a couple of microcontrollers, some decade counters, resistors, capacitors and quite a few 555 timers (I must have picked up a bunch on clearance somewhere, because I have a lot of them).  Initially I though of using one of the microcontrollers to animate the lights, then I came to my senses.  The 555 timer and a decade counter are the right tools for this job, no need to whip out a microcontroller.

The circuit was simple enough (you can search Google for LED chasers using 555 and pick one) .  I had no issues putting it together and it makes for a good simple light show.  Now off it goes into our son’s room to eat away batteries and amuse him. See video below.