Buzz Wire
(A Fun Project in Electricity and Conductivity)

Introduction: 

Buzzwire is a steady hand game that is well known to many as a table top amusement. Buzz wire is a challenging and competitive game where you are playing the number of touches against time. The player has to get the right balance between speed and skill in order to obtain the winning score.

For those of you who donít know the game, the aim is to guide the grip mounted loop through the wire maze without touching the loop against the metal maze all the way to the end.

If the metal loop touches the maze, even for a fraction of a second, the alarm will sound and the player must start again. The winner will be the player who reaches the end of the maze in the quickest time.

In this project you will make your own buzz wire game. Below are the list of materials and step by step instructions.

(Expert adult support and supervision is required for using tools and sharp objects)

List of Main Materials

  1. Copper Tube 36" or 24"
  2. Wooden Handle
  3. Solid Copper Wire
  4. Battery Holder 2AA (and matching batteries)
  5. Buzzer 3-Volt
  6. Light Bulb (2.5-V ~ 3-V)
  7. Lamp Holder
  8. Insulated copper wire gage 24, 26 or 28

List of Optional Materials

  1. Wood base or wood frame (Depending on your design)
    If you don't have access to a wood base or wood frame you may use foam boards, empty carton boxes or empty plastic boxes. Any of these can be used as a base or frame for your buzzwire.
  2. Glue, adhesive tapes, screws and electrical tape
    Your buzzwire can work even if all the components are sitting on a table and connected to each other properly; however, it is best if you install everything on a wooden structure or heavy duty cardboard box. In this way your buzzwire will be portable and you can move it around as needed. Tape, glue and screws are needed to connect things together.
  3. Some tools such as scissors and screw drivers. Complex designs may also need drills, nails and a hammer for wooden structures.

Some of the materials needed for making a buzzwire game are pictured below:

Buzzer, White, 1.5V ~ 3 VDC Miniature Base (Lamp Holder/ Lamp socket) Miniature lamps/ light bulbs
Battery Holder, 2 AA, Plastic CONNECTING WIRE WITH ALLIGATOR CLIPS, 3 Amps
     
Interchangeable Materials:

Almost all of these materials can be replaced by similar products. For example you may use a metal lamp holder, plastic lamp holder or porcelain lamp holder. Just make sure that the light bulb you use has the same size screw base as your lamp holder.

All the light bulbs and lamp holders sold by MiniScience (in kits or separately) have 10-mm screws and are compatible with each other.

Important:

The light bulb, buzzer and battery pack you use must all have the same voltage.

If you buy a kit from MiniScience, all components are certified to work at 3-volts.

If you are buying the materials separately, you may choose to buy 6-volt components or 9-volt components.

Design Options:

You will decide about the design of your buzz wire maze and the stand or frame. You will also decide about the start point and end point of your maze.

In this example the bottom of the maze is covered with blue masking tape or electrical tape. This is the place where the loop can rest without touching the maze. Player may start from this point and bring the loop up and follow the maze until the loop exits the maze. Alternatively the player may start from the top and lower the loop to the bottom of the maze.

You can be very creative in designing vertical mazes which stand on one or two legs. Some of the interesting ideas are the outline of the human hand or human body. 

Instructions:

Step 1:

Make the frame and the maze

Make your own design of buzzwire frame or stand. Twist your own creative design for the Copper tube maze to match the size and the design of your frame or stand.

The difficulty level of the game is decided during construction by choosing the diameter of the wand loop, and by choosing the number of curves and corners in the wire.
 

The circuit design is completely independent from the design of the frame or stand.
Step 2:

Make the circuit

Start by identifying the positive and negative side of all components. Look for + signs and - signs that mark the positive and negative sides. Red wires indicate positive and black wires indicate negative. (The diagram in the right is showing all connections with red line.)

Decide about the location of the components based on your design and install them securely on the board or frame you have prepared. If you are using a wooden base or frame, you can use screws to mount the components such as lamp holder, battery holder and buzzer.

Note that only bare wire can create an electrical contact. Carefully remove the wire insulation from the contact points as needed.

Step 3:

Make or prepare your loop wand

The Loop Wand is a solid copper wire that you have made a loop on one end of it. If you have purchased a kit, you already have a solid copper wire about 8 inches long in your kit. Wrap one end of the copper wire around a round object to make a loop.

The other end of the loop wand connects to a long wire. The long wire that comes in the kit has an alligator clip on each end for easy connections.

Step 4:

Make all the connections

Connect the negative side of your power source (or the black wire of your battery holder) to your wire maze. (We made a hole the same size as the maze diameter, then inserted the black wire in the hole before inserting the maze in the base board. 

Connect the positive side of your power source (the red wire of the battery holder) and the red wire of the buzzer together and to one side of the lamp holder.

Connect the black wire of the buzzer to the other side of the lamp holder and then to the loop wand.


Additional Information:

The Loop Wand

You can use your own idea about the design of the loop wand. You can even use a wood dowel or wood handle for it.

Conductivity is Important

Wash the maze wire and loop wand with dish washing detergent. Scrub the surface while washing. Then clean or polish them with sand paper. This will help to remove any oxide or other unwanted materials from the surface of the wire. Then apply some mineral oil or baby oil to protect them from rusting again.

A clean surface on the maze and the loop wand wire will result in a better or more sensitive operation of the buzzwire.

Parallel Circuit

In this project the buzzer and the light bulb form a parallel circuit.

 

The model in this video is slightly
different than the one shown above.

Buzz Wire


 

The Buzzwire Kit Contains:
  • Wood Block for stand
  • Copper Tube for maze
  • Solid copper wire for loop wand
  • Battery Holder
  • Electric Buzzer
  • Lamp Holder
  • Light bulb
  • Long wire with alligator clips
  • Screws for mounting
If you don't have this kit, you can order it now! It is available both as a single pack and class pack. The material in the kit provide you with all you need to make the maze, the wire loop and all the electrical parts.


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