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Scrappy Circuits Clothespin Switch

July 23, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm PDT

Clothespin Switch Brick

In many ways this brick is the opposite of the Push Switch. The Push Switch turns on by being pressed. The Clothespin Switch turns off by being pressed. When you’re not touching the Clothespin Switch it rests in the on position. If something is pushing on the switch, or inside the mouth, it will be off until that object is removed.

This switch can easily be turned into a trip wire switch. Cut a piece of cardboard that is about two inches by a half inch. Poke a hole in one end and tie a string to it (if you’re looking for some cheap, strong, and thin string — try some dental floss from the dollar store). Clip the clothespin on the cardboard. Tie the free end of the string to something in the room that might move when someone enters your room (a door or window) or low so someone might walk into it. When the string is pulled the cardboard will be pulled out of the clothespin and the switch will close turning your circuit on.

This switch can also be used as an alarm. If an object rests on the switch it will be off. As soon as that object is lifted the switch will be on. So if someone picks up your book bag or backpack, your switch can turn on and trigger the Buzzer Brick.

Get your core bricks ready – previous sessions can be seen here.

WATCH LIVE on the Family Maker Camp Facebook page or on the Kids Make: Youtube channel.

Materials lists:
  • Cardboard
  • Clothespin (wood or plastic)
  • Aluminum foil
  • 2 binder clips
  • Hot glue gun
  • Something to poke a hole with
  1. Cut some three to four inch squares of aluminum foil
  2. Open the clothespin and wrap one piece of aluminum foil around one prong of the clothespin where they touch. Be careful that the foil does not touch the metal spring in the clothespin.
  3. Twist the remaining aluminum foil tightly.
  4. Do the same to the other prong of the clothespin.
  5. Use hot glue to secure the clothespin to the brick. Let it dry.
  6. Binder clip the twists of foil to different sides of the brick.
  7. Label with “Clothespin Switch.”

The teaching and learning of invention literacy is often locked behind many pre-requisite skills and expensive STEM toys. Scrappy Circuits breaks down these barriers to learning to invent through using a modular system of bricks build by the learner and sourced for commonly found objects.

Learn more about Scrappy Circuits and our hosts Michael Carroll and Chris Connors.


July 23, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm PDT
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