Use 3D Printing to Build Your Own Set of Game Buzzers

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Before game buzzers.

Every family has one: that person who cheats at whatever game the family is trying to play together, be it UNO, Life, Monopoly or craps. Their attempt to win any game by whatever means necessary is the start of many night-long, outrage-fueled family battles that only end when your parents send everyone to bed early. All because they insisted that they had the answer first when you know good and well that they didn’t. Growing up, my family’s solution was to avoid games that could easily be cheated; coincidentally, these were often the most fun to play, and all thanks to a certain someone who won’t be named because she’s delicate and I’m hurting her feelings and why do I care so much if she cheats, it’s just a game. It’s never just a game mom, god!

Every family needs one of these.

Every family needs one of these.

I used to think that I was alone in my struggle, but then I stumbled onto this helpful little 3D printing project that maker and Thingiverse user Ron Provis created thanks to his own family of cheaters. Being pragmatic, Provis decided to avoid the arguments by designing a 3D printable set of Quiz Game Buzzers that would make it clear who the first person to answer a question was. And there would be no cheating possible because the buzzer is programmed to lock out all of the other lights as soon as the first button is pressed. Never again would Provis’ family fun time devolve into family hate time, and all because he discovered 3D printing a few years ago.

“Just under two years ago I suffered a heart attack followed by triple bypass operation. I can’t imagine how I would have filled my time during my recovery if did not have a 3D printer to keep me occupied. There’s still plenty of life left in the old dog yet! (and lots more gadgets to be made),” Provis told us in an email.

The circuit diagram.

The circuit diagram.

Provis got to work figuring out how to make his new project idea happen. He already happened to have an Arduino kit lying around just waiting for a project. He started by tinkering around with it for a few hours and ended up with a decent idea of how to make the buzzers work. Once he plugged it into FreeCAD he also decided to create a dice function, which is perfect for certain family members who just happen to always drop the die on the floor and insist that it landed on a six. Yeah, sure it was a six, the number that you just coincidentally needed at that exact moment. How convenient.

The hardware shopping list.

The hardware shopping list.

Once Provis completed the basic layout of the circuits and designed the 3D models for the parts, he got to work putting the whole thing together. First he sourced all of the non-3D printable parts that he would need to complete the buzzers, and once he had everything that he needed, he double checked his design and turned his attention to the 3D printable parts. He printed all of the components off on his home built RepRap 3D printers, that he has affectionately named Big Dweeb and Little Dweeb. Once the Dweebs finished printing the parts and Provis had them cleaned up, his quickly put everything together and his Quiz Buzzer Buttons project was complete. Provis was so happy with the final result that he decided to upload it to Thingiverse and share it with the community.3dp_gamebuzzer_banner

“I must admit I am a bit surprised at how popular this gadget is on Thingiverse. I guess many other people have the same arguments when playing quiz games that are meant to be a bit of fun,” Provis said.

After game buzzers.

After game buzzers.

While Provis admits that his Quiz Buzzer Buttons project is a slightly finicky project that requires a bit of tweaking to get assembled correctly, he still considers it a worthwhile and well worth the effort involved. You could continue to argue with you know how about what a cheater-face they are, or you can bring out the new buzzers and laugh maniacally as they realise that they have lost all of their powers. And even if, by some stroke of poor luck you still lose, you can still consider it a win.

All of the files for the 3D printable parts that you will need are up on Thingiverse, as well as a diagram for programming the Arduino and a list of the hardware that you’ll need to source. 

What are your thoughts on this innovative 3D printed gadget?  Discuss in the 3D Printed Game Buzzer Forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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