Overview

Twitter user @caitlinsdad made this insanely awesome maker-themed ice cream truck. Inspired by his idea, here is a guide on how to create the truck in its physical form! Using cardboard, a couple different motors, NeoPixels, CRICKIT and Circuit Playground Express, we will recreate this totally tricked out truck!

Prerequisite guides

Reading or at least skimming through these guides before beginning will save you a lot of headache in the future. You can always refer back to them if you need help!

Adafruit Parts

1 x Circuit Playground Express
Circuit Playground Express is a great introduction to electronics and programming
1 x Adafruit CRICKIT for Circuit Playground Express
Crickit: Creative Robotics and Interactive Construction Kit is an add-on to Circuit Playground Express
2 x TT Motor DC Gearbox
200 RPM 3 to 6VDC
1 x Micro Servo
A little servo can rotate approximately 180 degrees (90 in each direction)
1 x USB Cable
USB A to Micro-B
1 x Small Alligator Clip Test Lead (set of 12)
For controlling the truck via capacitive touch
1 x Rainbow Crafting Yarn
For making waving Adabot (any string or twine will also do)

Portable Power

1 x Male DC Power adapter
2.1mm plug to screw terminal block
1 x Lithium Ion Battery Pack - 3.7V 6600mAh
Works well for motors that hog a lot of power
1 x PowerBoost 1000 Charger - Rechargeable 5V Lipo USB Boost @ 1A - 1000C
Will convert 3.7v from lithium batteries to 5v needed for CRICKIT
1 x Premium Male/Male Jumper Wires - 20 x 3" (75mm)
For connecting batteries to PowerBoost

Optional

1 x Adafruit Mini Skinny NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Strip - 60 LED/m - WHITE - 1 meter long
Great additional lighting for the truck but not absolutely necessary.
1 x 5V 2A (2000mA) switching power supply - UL Listed
Power source for testing out electronics before adding battery

Tools and Materials

  • Medium to large width corrugated cardboard - need at least 5 - 6 sheets sized 8.5" X 11" with the same thickness
  • Scrap pieces of cardboard (to make character cutouts and various smaller parts)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Hobby knife
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun + 2-3 sticks of glue
  • Double sided tape
  • Aluminum foil
  • Access to a printer
  • Print out of characters
  • Glue stick
  • Mini bamboo skewers
  • Fake spider web (for ice cream)
  • Duct tape (for NeoPixels)
  • Soldering iron + solder (for portable power supply)
  • Rubber band
  • Wire cutter

Optional but recommended: 

  • Cutting mat (for cutting cardboard)
  • Peel and stick hoop and loop fasteners (Velcro) - For attaching Blinka to front seat!
  • Colored markers and other decorations for the truck!
This guide was first published on Nov 20, 2018. It was last updated on Nov 20, 2018. This page (Overview) was last updated on Nov 29, 2018.