Arduino Starved For Ideas
January 8, 2012 5:56 PM   Subscribe

What could/should my friend and I build first with an Arduino starter kit or two?

A friend and I are picking up electronics as a hobby. We're ordering a couple of basic Arduino starter kits to learn on such as this one. While there are mounds of great information on learning to be found here what I would like to know is what are some cool/funny/neat/easy/useful things that we could build first? I'd like ideas! I've found some interesting looking ones on the net but I'm willing to be you'll have something very cool! What do you think?

Also if anybody has any quick suggestions to somebody who is learning that would be appreciated. Like things you wished you had known when you started out.
posted by cassini to Technology (7 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Anything you'd switch on/off with a mechanical switch could be controlled easily with the Arduino (plus maybe higher-rated relays, if needed). I started out by working on a small temperature sensor/valve controller combo for brewing purposes.

Really, though, I think if you have a hobby you could use this in, that might serve for better ideas of things to work on.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 6:33 PM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Once you go through the material that comes with the kits, I think you'll get a lot of ideas. (If you haven't settled on your kits yet I really recommend the ARDX. It has a lot more possibilities than the kit you linked.)

How about a secret knock detecting lock? (Full disclosure: Self link.)

The Arduino playground on the official site is full of awesome stuff, broken down by category.

Here's a great list.

And you can always search Instructables for "Arduino" for projects.
posted by Ookseer at 8:38 PM on January 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: These are all amazing resources! Thank you very much!

The kit you linked does look appealing, however, the other kit I linked has the added benefit of originating in Canada which makes shipping cheaper for us. Anything like that in the way of a Canadian site?
posted by cassini at 8:45 PM on January 8, 2012

Heh, tomorrow I'll be at the coffee shop not to far from my house either playing with my arduino, or R language.

This little guy
blew me away when I first saw the video. He's based on a pickaxe microcontroller but there is no reason why it couldn't be done via an Arduino.

One of my plans is to make a woodworking jig for box joints that can be set up with a keypad and LCD screen there at the saw, will auto-advance with a stepper motor, will have some sort of carriage advance/return detector (with a manual interlock) so that the carriage won't move mid-cut and won't double advance unless the microcontroller and the human operator are in agreement. Sorta like this only without that big hairy spreadsheet in the middle. (Once I really really trust that set up, I may CNC the advance and return portion of the opperation, but I'd have to really really trust it first.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:45 PM on January 8, 2012

If you already have another hobby, see if you can think up something that'll mesh with that. For example:
Like cooking? Build a sous vide rig. Model airplanes? Build a UAV. D&D? Make a dice roller. Working on the house? Home automation. And so on.
Putting the word "arduino" in front of your subject will probably turn up a bunch of stuff in a Google search. And what you'll find is that everyone who's already done it has done it differently from what you want to do. So you'll find building blocks, idea's for what you want, etc., but you'll put it together your own way.
posted by Runes at 9:04 AM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's an interesting idea. One of my side hobbies is Astronomy. I bet I'd be able to find lots of neat projects involving that!

Thanks for the suggestion.
posted by cassini at 9:45 AM on January 9, 2012

Canakit's Professional Kit is from the same vendor, with more stuff. For example, it has a stepper motor. You could use such a thing for controlling a telescope mount. You get the idea. You'll find that your enjoyment will be greater if you've got some specific projects to use the Arduino for. Of course, this will get you out of the box of stuff that came with the kit, using stuff beyond the initial tutorials, and you'll find yourself learning a whole lot more.

You might want to look at this.
posted by Runes at 10:09 AM on January 9, 2012

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