Busy Board

The idea

This whole thing started around my first little daughter (Kinga) reached the age of one. My friend showed me some pictures of busy boards…and as an enthusiastic father I wanted to build one for my little one :)


The original concept was to install a relatively “big” modular stuff in the hall. Around this time I was already somewhat familiar with OpenScad - so I (designed it).

Planned modules

  • logic gates: and/or/xor and friends
  • zippers, buttons; on different type of cloth materials/etc.
  • switches: which do switch something leds or anything…
  • magnetic stuff: have some magnetic surface and put some stuff on it….
  • gears: they are fun…and entertaining :)
  • gravity


Main frame

To build the main frame I asked my father in-law - I thinked it will be a simple thing for him - but apparently he was busier than I thinked…so it took around 12 year to have the base frame/parts…Kinga was still young - so it wasn’t really a problem :)

The main frame was fixed to the wall. An extra hole was drilled thru the wall to supply power to the electronics.

First module (zipper&buttons) ~2017-12

My wife bought a bunch of very nice buttons and a zipper ;) And my mother-in-law was open to help building the first module - she sewed the buttons to some clothes. I’ve used hot-glue to fixate these things to the module’s base…and put it at it’s place…

After a few days I had to re-think the method which was used to fixate the things…because my little girl was persistently tried to rip off the parts (with some luck). …so I’ve drilled a few holes and used some M3 screws to fixate things for sure.

The long pause

The first module was build around 2017-12 or something…after it was there and waited for me to build the modules/etc…I didn’t do it

…I got into 3d printing; upgrading it/etc - and got involved in opensource as well.

But then…my second daughter have born…and she went again to this “busy_board” and started playing with loose pad of screw around the bottom of the board… showed that she has interesting in this “thing” whatever it is :)

The second module “gears” - around 2019 November

I wanted to make something fast…time can’t pass by anymore that I don’t care about this most unique game my daughter can have :)

So I went on thingiverse and collected a few gear models - and printed them; drilled a few holes and installed a set of “interesting” gears.

The third module “switches” - 2019 December

I always wanted to build the module which could demonstrate the AND/OR/XOR/etc stuff - after all how interesting that could be for a child?

I’ve drilled holes for 8 switches and 4 leds - and hooked up an Arduino pro micro(32u4) to be the mind behind it…

I always planned to install an old raspberry pi1 inside the board to be the local “brain” of everything….since I needed 5V anyway…I throwed it in and connected the pro micro to it.

I wanted to try out “PlatformIO remote” before - now this was the perfect opportunity :) after some struggling because of python 2 / 3 I was able to flash the pro micro from the comfort of my desk…

I’ve programmed 4 gates for the 4 leds…. AND,OR,XOR,NOR and left it there - it was interesting for a while; but eventually I had to learn the lesson the hard way: that it’s not that interesting for a child to play with these kind of things …

cheers :)

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