Il Quarto a Biliardino

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Project developed by: Claudia, Nazarena, Giacomo, Francesco.

Issued from the course: To Be A Maker. Cultural program of Collegio di Milano 2012/2013. Teachers: Serena Cangiano, Matteo Loglio.

Our work tries to solve one of the major problems facing the college life: the difficulty in finding the fourth player in a table football match. Using Arduino we tried to find a mechanism that would allow players to find one or more collegial available to complete the team.

At the moment, we have considered the possibility of exploiting the soccer balls to send an input: the initial idea was to put the balls on a plan that can sense weigh. Depending on the weight, the mechanism could be able to calculate the number of balls: this value, equal to the number of players already ready, would make it possible to send a specific signal to fellow College students, to communicate the number of participants required to start a match. A ball thus corresponded to only one player present, two balls for two players, three balls meant finally the dramatic situation that often conditions after-dinners in Colleges: the lack of a “quarter of football.”

The choice to use the weight of the ball, however, proved difficult to achieve immediately: that’s why we tried to take advantage of the gadgets which we already have. In this case, our choice fell on the light sensor, able to recognize variations in the lighting. For the prototype, we used a box with three internal sensors, isolating them from all external light by using tubes made from a roll of toilet paper. On the top of the box we cut holes whose diameters are slightly inferiors to the balls. This way, the three holes found themselves constantly covered by three balls, allowing players to send a light signal by removing the number of balls corresponding to the numbers of players present.

The second problem we faced was how to send an input: initially it was planned to connect bulbs positioned at strategic points within College campus, in areas full of potential players such as the library. A different light, along the colour scheme of traffic lights, would let the sensors communicate to students the number of players willing to play. However, such solution’d require a deployment of cables and sensors frankly excessive. It was decided then to follow a path perhaps less glamorous but certainly more convenient: automatically send an e-mail.

In particular, we have created a blog ( and we programmed the Arduino board to make it interact with an e-mail application.
For each variation of the incoming signals (sensors), the card responds by updating the blog with the corresponding message. Once we completed the programming of the board, we focused on designing the packaging for the final product. Using the interface available at, we have created the file. svg necessary to achieve a plywood box using a laser printer.


Arduino sketch

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.Project developed by: Michele Bugliaro Goggia.

Issued from the course: Summer school in digital fabrication.

Being the first project I’ve ever done in the field of digital fabrication, I wanted to create a simple but playful object, one that can be adapted to different occasions and even user mood.

With these ideas in mind, my object is not just a toy but an object with a practical use, since the top-front part can be opened. Such internal space is a real box that can be used to stock any items.

If the box is open: anyone can store any common objects. If the box is closed: the toy becomes a secret treasury box.


  • A wooden plate.
  • An ABS reel, max 0.5 mm in diameter.
  • Two wooden sticks, long enough to become the axis of the car.
  • Glue.
  • Scissors.

Building the object

This project is a box with a simple internal mechanism, so be careful to test it before gluing the box! The car uses a principle very similar to what we find in windmills: the wheels are connected to a first internal sprocket, which is connected to a second vertical sprocket. Moving the wheels makes the mechanism spin, so kinetic energy is transmitted to the blades.
Once you laser-cut all the pieces, you can put together the mechanism. Start by gluing the center stage, where the whole mechanism is going to be placed. Then, you can prepare both sprockets, the four big car wheels and the blades. For both sprockets to touch each other, cut little pieces of ABS wire. Wheels and blades are reinforced by smaller circlets inbetween. Once you’re ready, start by gluing the base with all sides of the car (left-right-top), plus the dividing wall inside. You can proceed to insert the sticks with the horizontal sprocket and the wheels. Test the distances first. Please notice the lower part of the vertical stick must not be glued against the stage. The mechanism must work so that the horizontal sprocket touches and pushes the vertical sprocket. Once the mechanism runs with no glitch, you can glue each sprocket in that precise position.


Download DXF files flickr gallery