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LittleBits Water Droplets Machine Mark II Collision

by alexpikkert

Published on July 25, 2017

This project is an update from the original Water Droplets Machine, published in June 2017. See: http://littlebits.cc/projects/littlebits-water-droplets-machine

With this updated machine you can make fascinating pictures of mid-air colliding water droplets because this machine no longer uses a laser beam detetction but a LittleBits servo controlled water valve. The droplets are now controlled by a new program with a dual timer designed around the LittleBits W6 Arduino Leonardo. Let them collide and be amazed !

Duration: 24 hrs.

How To Make It


The structure Mount the curtain rod vertically on the baseplate. Make the wooden parts for the mounting plates, the bottle holder, the droplet outlet and the water valve fixing. Mount everything on the curtain rod. See for more details on the basic setup and the use of the Cactus remote flash triggers the previous project: http://littlebits.cc/projects/littlebits-water-droplets-machine
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The servo water valve The water valve is made with two hinged wooden parts, squeezing the small water hose from the drip set infuse with a tight rubber band so no water can pass. One part can be moved by a cam disk mounted on the servo. When activated, the water hose inside the valve will be less squeezed and water drops can pass through. The cam disk position and speed are fully controlled by the Arduino program. The valve releases a few drops quickly after each other and after a time delay the flash is fired. Depending on the time settings they can collide in mid air......
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The LittleBits dual timer Mount the bits on the two mounting plates and mount these plates on the wooden structure. The dimmers are provided with long cardboard handles, glued on the dimmer knob. (So the time delays can be easely set in small steps. Load the code program into the W6 Arduino. The power is provided by a rechargeable battery 5 V DC 1800 mAh. (A cellphone backup battery).
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How to make pictures.... Put a water bowl on the base plate and some colored paper behind it. Set the flash on manual mode with a low output level. Connect the flash to the Cactus V5 wireless trigger device, set as receiver. (Set the Cactus wireless trigger device connected to the relay bit as transmitter) I used 1/128, which results in a flash time of 1/40000 second ! A very fast flash is really needed for these pictures. Aim the flash at the colored background. Start the Littlebits control app on the tablet with the big button. Set your camera on manual mode, aperture on F40 to start with and set the timing on infinite. Put your camera on a tripod and use a remote trigger to make pictures. Set the camera ISO setting manually to 200. Do not use auto-ISO. Do not use autofocus but manually focus exactly on the spot where the drops will fall. (Goes best with the help of a pen or s slider, held in position where the drops fall) Make the room dark, trigger your camera to start making a picture, press the big button on the app to start the machine, wait for the flash and stop the camera. Take a look at the picture made. Not a good one? adjust the timings with the Arduino dimmers and if needed move the flash and adjust the aperture if the picture is too light or too dark. You can also change the light sensitivity on the camera (ISO setting) if needed. Try and error method......make many pictures... Good luck and happy experimenting ! These colliding droplets result in more interesting pictures I think....
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