In this tutorial, I am going to show you guys how to create a fire effect first using 4017 IC and then using an Arduino.
I will also show you guys how to create a Cardboard Tank and a Burning Village. 
This was a small request from my son and my attempt to recycle some household junk. He loves the final built, I hope you guys also like it. 

Electronic Components

For the electronic bit we need:
1. 1 x IC 4017
2. 1 x IC 555
3. 1 x 10uf Capacitor
4. 1 x 220ohm Resistor  
5. 1 x 1K Resistor
6. 1 x 10K Pot
7. Arduino Uno/Nano (whichever is handy)
8. Red, Orange, White LEDs and
9. Few connecting cables

Using IC 4017

The circuit is very simple. Basically its a forward chaser circuit using 4017 IC. 
The 555 Timer IC operates as a clock oscillator or clock generator. The output on PIN-3 goes high causing a shift.
The signal from the 555 IC clocks the 4017 decade counter. Output of 555 timer IC on PIN-3 is given as an input to 4017 IC through PIN-14. Whenever a pulse is received at the input of IC 4017, the counter increments the count and activates the corresponding output PIN.
By increasing or decreasing the value of resistance of the 10K pot we can adjust the speed of the chaser circuit.

The Board

So this is how my board looks like. I have 4 breakout boards in this 100cm x 100cm assembly.


Lets start by soldering the 2 resistances to the board. Then,lets solder the 10uf capacitor to the board. After that, lets solder the 10K pot. Next, lets solder the 2 IC bases and install the two ICs to the bases.
I am not going to solder any LEDs directly to the board, instead I will solder them to separate boards and then connect them using ribbon cables.

Lets do a quicks test before moving to the next step. Using water-color I painted a cotton ball to look like a fire ball. Looks perfect, isn't it? 

Using Arduino

The same fire effect can also be created using an Arduino. The beauty of using an Arduino is that, by updating the "Blink Example Code" we can flash as many LEDs as we want. I will provide a copy of the code in the description below, however, it totally depends no you how you want to present it. 

Components For The Cardboard Tank And Village

To create the DIY Tank we need:

  • Cardboard Sheet 
  • A4 Paper
  • Permanent Marker
  • Scissor and a Knife
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Optional Plaster of Paris
  • Optional Sandpaper 
  • Water Color and Coloring Brushes

The Template - Tank

So, this is the template I created for the Tank's body. I will provide the link in the description below. Using a paper cutting scissor, I extracted all the shapes from the template. 

Cutting The Cardboard - Tank

Then I traced the paper-cutouts on pieces of cardboard and using both scissor and a knife I extracted all the pieces of cardboard that I need for this project.

Joining Pieces - Tank

Using a hot-glue gun I joined all the cardboard cutouts.
Be very careful while using a hot-glue gun. Use gloves as much as possible to avoid the hot glue from burning your hand and fingers. 
By using wood-glue instead of hot-glue you can get a cleaner and stronger finish, but hot glue is faster. Hot glue can also be more forgiving as you can re-heat and re-glue if you're unsatisfied with your seam.
Try applying the glue from the inner side as much as possible to leave the outer side neat and clean.

Coloring - Tank

So, this is how my cardboard Tank looks like. Using brown, yellow and black Acrylic Color I painted the body of the Tank. It totally depends on what color you want to apply; but, please do not paint it red or pink, ha ha....

By changing the shape and size of the canon, body, caterpillars or the top section of the tank, or by applying a different set of colors you can generate a new model and add to your DIY collection.

Cardboard Base

Now that we have our Tank ready lets start building the burning village. Using a precision knife I am sculpting the cardboard pieces and then joining them...

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