If you like to decorate for parties, the exploding balloon is one of the better ideas. Here is an easy and inexpensive way to have the same balloon exploding effects as the pros. You must assemble the pieces and then attach to the balloons. This method works for one or several balloons and for many different types of balloon displays.
You will want enough wire to explode the balloon or balloons from some location away from the guest activities where the balloon displays are placed. Then at the right moment, you can push the button and watch the guest’s surprise reactions.
The basic idea here is to have a sharp object, in this case a simple stick pin, slightly scratch the balloon surface, just enough to rupture the balloon. This is a fairly simple project and inexpensive. Once you have the DIY Exploding Balloon system working, it can be used multiple times. You do need to practice attaching the micro-motor on test balloons first.
- 2 Conductor Wire:telephone wire or similar, length as needed $7 for 50 ft
- Connectors:telephone wire splice (optional)
- Battery:6V battery holder (4 AA work well) $6 with batteries
- Switch:pushbutton SPST momentary (small) $3
- Box:Project Enclosure (5×2.5×2) $4
- Micro-motor:3VDC Micro-Vibration Motor $4
- Stick pin: ordinary $0
- Epoxy: metal to metal quick drying $3
The total cost is around $27.The first five items in the list can be found at RadioShack, http://www.radioshack.com/ on the internet or in the store, usually the stores not located within a mall will have more items available.
The electrical connections, see diagram, shows the battery supply, the pushbutton switch, wire and micro-motor. There can be several micro-motors if you want to explode several balloons at once.Use 6V on a 3V motor to help compensate for the long wire runs and provide some extra power. Since the motor only spins for a couple seconds, this higher voltage is not a problem.
The sharp end of the stick pin is cut to leave ½ inch in length. Bend the stick pin to a 45◦ angle at the center. This bend is just to provide a better fit on the motor shaft counter weight. Using a small amount of epoxy, attach the stick pin onto the side of the counter weight with the bend centered on the open side of the weight. The sharp point should be 3/16 to 1/4 inch from center to tip. The stick pin should be able to turn with the motor shaft in a clock-wise direction when looking towards the motor end.It is recommended to tape the motor onto a hard surface with the shaft end tiled slightly down sothe epoxy does not run onto the motor itself and create a bond between the motor casing and the shaft that turns. After the epoxy dries, cut the non-pointed end of the stick pin off as close to the motor counter weight as possible to help avoid accidental bursting of the balloon during attachment.This end can also be made smoother with a metal file and covered with a slight amount of additional.
Drill two holes into the Project Enclosure box, one on top to mount the switch and one on the end for the wire. Using a soldering iron attach the battery holder onto the switch and telephone wire as shown in the diagram. Attach the other end of the telephone wire onto the motor wires. Cover each of the electrical connections with a small piece of electrical tape.
Hint: Add a small about of packing foam or other non-conductive material inside the Project Enclosure box to keep the battery holder from sliding around.
You can test the proper direction of the spinning stick pin by loosely touching the motor wires to the battery prior to final assembly.The wires can be reconnected later if the pin turns the wrong direction.
The micro-motor is attached to the side of the balloon with a 5 inch piece of clear packing tape to hold the micro-motor body tightly against the balloon surface. If the distance between the stick pin tip and balloon surface is to great, the pin will just turn without bursting the balloon. If the stick pin tip is to long, the micro-motor will not be able to turn the pin far enough to rupture the balloon. The tape can be removed if necessary. The wire can be hidden within the other supporting decorations surrounding the balloon.
Hint: Push a small pencil eraser onto the stick pin prior to attaching the micro-motor to the balloon. This will help stop accidentally bursting the balloon during attachment and decoration assembly. Practice a few times on a standard 12 inch balloon until you feel comfortable in not bursting the balloon. You do not want to take the time to stuff numerous small balloons into a large balloon just to accidentally have a balloon explosion. The eraser can be removed just prior to the scheduled event.