by littleBits June 26, 2013

We're celebrating the 4th of July with "BitWorks!" Make your own display to watch the NYC skyline come alive with lights.

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Bits used: bargraph , inverter, power , pulse, rgb led, wire


Videos and Recipes


  1. 1

    Step 1. Find a cardboard box from your recycle bin. A shoe box would work perfectly. 

  2. 2

    Step 2. Build up the city! Download the file "11x17_NYC Skyline Template.pdf". Cut out the four pieces of the template with scissors or an x-acto knife.

  3. 3

    Step 3. Assemble the circuit for the fireworks in the background: power + wire + pulse + bargraph + wire + inverter + bargraph + inverter + rgb led + bargraph + wire(out). The bargraph already has red, green, and yellow lights, but you can use the mini screwdriver to adjust the RGB LED and add any of your favorite colors to your fireworks display! 

  4. 4

    Step 4. Find a cardboard sheet, and cut it to the size of the back surface of the box. Now download the file "11x17_Background Fireworks Cutout.pdf", and paste this tabloid paper sized file you just printed to the cardboard sheet you resized. Carefully cut out the fireworks' outlines with your x-acto.

  5. 5

    Step 5. Paste a sheet of rice paper onto the firework cutout cardboard. Place it in front of the back surface of the box which has all the taped bits. You can turn on the power for testing this part of the circuit to make sure the colorful shadows light up all over the three fireworks cutout.

  6. 6

    Step 6. Duct tape the four layers of the cardboard city skyline to both sides of the box, make sure the distance in between them is the same. Cut several bunches of fiber optics. Tape the ends together with scotch tape. Make sure the end of the fiber optics are even. Cut the top till you feel like you are happy with the shape of the fireworks. Now assemble the front fireworks' circuit: wire(in) + inverter + bargraph + pulse + wire + rgb led + wire + rgb led.

  7. 7

    Step 7. Place the two groups of fiber optics over the bargraph and rgb led. Enjoy the BitWorks!

Bits used (18)


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Other Materials Used (5)

  • cardboard 1
  • duct tape 1
  • fiber optic 1
  • glue dot 1
  • rice paper 1

Tools (3)

  • ruler
  • scissors
  • x-acto

Other files

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