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Makey Makey + Foam Sword = FUN!

How would you like to use a real sword (or pickaxe) for hitting stuff in Minecraft? You can do it with Makey Makey! It’s pretty simple, and the kids definitely enjoyed the results.

Updated 12/2/2015: We did a video to demonstrate the finished product!

Required Materials

  • Makey Makey – I would recommend also getting some extra alligator leads, as the ones included with the MaKey MaKey might not give you enough length.
  • Conductive tape –  Foil tape or copper conductive tape will work, but I like the foil tape better for this project. It’s also easier if the adhesive is also conductive, so keep that in mind when you’re searching for the tape.
  • Foam sword – My personal favorite is the one available from ThinkGeek, but you can get a cheaper one for experimentation
  • Paper plate – You only need one, and it can be cheap!
  • Rubber bands 
  • Minecraft PC and computer – I have only tried this setup on Windows and Mac, and it works on both. Once I have my Raspberry Pi set up, I’ll try it on that as well.

Instructions

  1. Wrap the conductive tape around the tip of the sword and attach one of the alligator leads from the MaKey MaKey set. I originally did this with the copper tape, but after only a couple of kids played with the setup, that started to tear, so I switched to the foil. That’s held up better, so far.
  2. Attach the alligator lead to the sword with rubber bands. This isn’t absolutely required, but we did find it helped keep the lead out of the way when kids started whacking stuff!
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  3. Add more alligator leads to the one you attached to the sword, so you end up with a length that will reach your Makey Makey, and still give the user space to stand back and whack! I used three leads on the sword for my setup.
  4. Attach the other end of the multi-lead series to the “Click” terminal on the Makey Makey.
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  5. Now add some conductive tape to the paper plate. If you’re using the copper tape, you’ll want to use several pieces, to give a large enough “hit” area. For both copper and foil tape, wrap the tape around the edge of the plate.
  6. Attach another alligator lead to the edge of the plate, where the tape is wrapped.
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  7. Connect the other end of the lead that’s attached to the plate to the “Earth” terminal on the Makey Makey.
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  8. When the user touches the conductive tape on the sword to the conductive tape on the plate, they’ll make a complete circuit, which should initiate a “click” command. So plug the Makey Makey into your computer, and test it out! It’ll work in stuff other than Minecraft, so if you have some PowerPoint presentations, and want to have them really stand out, take the sword setup with you 🙂
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