The Smart Home Kit for Digi-Key IoT Studio - Feather ESP32 kit has been discontinued by Adafruit. If you make your own similar project, you will have to buy the parts separately.

Assembling the Door

Is anybody home? To detect when the door is either open or closed, you'll be using a reed switch. These super simple sensors operate on the principle that when a magnet is less than 0.5" away, the reed switch internally closes. We'll detect this change using a HUZZAH32 and send the door's status to the Digi-Key IoT Studio Project.

These switches aren't just for a cardboard home, they've been used in real-world projects such as the Adafruit IO Door Detector project. 

Using a hot glue gun, glue the reed switch to the left side of the door-frame

If you don't have a hot glue gun handy, you can substitute a piece of double-sided tape instead.

You will want to ensure the switch is firmly in place and does not move around any.

Next, grab the closest empty Adafruit/Amazon/Digi-Key box (We know you have some around, we do!).

Using a ruler, sketch a door on a this piece of cardboard. Then, cut it out using a pair of scissors or a knife.

Using double sided tape or hot glue, affix the magnet to the door.

There's many ways to assemble a door hinge, we'll use tape to act as a hinge. Place a strip of tape on the door's edge and line it up with the doorway in the house. You should be able to open and close the door without it falling off.

For a more permanent option, you may want to use a bamboo skewer like we did in the IO Home: Security Learning System Guide

Strip 3mm of the rubber coating from the door sensor cable. Then, strip 3mm from the male JST header cable.

Slide two narrow lengths of heat shrink down each cable for the door sensor. Then, slide a wider length of heat shrink over both cables

Using a soldering iron, tin the ends of both cables. Then apply heat with the soldering iron to connect them together

Once connected, slide the heat shrink over the soldering joint and apply heat.

Repeat this for both cables (red and black). Once you're done, slide the larger piece of heat shrink over both of the cables and apply heat.

Assembling the Fan

In order to attach the DC spindle motor to the roof of the home, you'll build a rafter-like-support using a popsicle stick.

With a pencil, mark a line 0.5" from the curved portion of the popsicle stick.

Using wire snips or scissors, cut along the line you marked. To avoid splitting the wood, take small "snips" instead of a large cut.

After cutting, you may want to use a file or some coarse sandpaper to sand down uneven edges.

  • Insert one end of the popsicle stick in the inside corner of the roof.
  • With a pencil, mark the popsicle stick at where the inside roof ends.
  • Using wire snips or scissors, cut along the line you marked. To avoid splitting the wood, take small "snips" instead of a large cut.
  • After cutting, you may want to use a file or some coarse sandpaper to sand down uneven edges.
  • Test-fit the popsicle stick into the roof.
  • Add a dab of glue (or hot glue) to either side of the popsicle stick. If the stick in your kit is bowed a little, add the glue to the bowed side. The motor will be mounted the flat side of the roof.
  • Insert the popsicle stick into the roof and press down on it until it sets.

Let's leave this piece alone to dry.

Modify the propeller by cutting ~0.4mm off each end of the propeller with a pair of scissors or wire cutters.

Press-fit the propeller onto the DC Spindle Motor. You may need to press hard, it's a tight fit.

Strip 3mm of the rubber coating from the door sensor. Then, strip 3mm from the male JST header cable.

Slide two narrow lengths of heat shrink down each cable for the door sensor. Then, slide a wider length of heat shrink over both cables

Using a soldering iron, tin the ends of both cables. Then apply heat with the soldering iron to connect them together

Once connected, slide the heat shrink over the soldering joint and apply heat.

Repeat this for both cables (red and black). Once you're done, slide the larger piece of heat shrink over both of the cables and apply heat.

Apply a small dab of glue (or hot glue) to the back of the motor. We've marked on the image where the glue could leak into the motor.

Center the motor above the popsicle stick.

Before pressing down to set the glue, give the fan a spin to ensure it has clearance on all inside sides of the roof. 

Press down on the motor to set the glue. Let's leave the roof to dry while we work on the LEDs

Adding LEDs

You're going to use five Adafruit LED Sequins (in Digi-Key red) to add some lights to your home. These small LEDs only show a single color and don't have digital control, making them simple to add to your home. 

Using a JST cable with a male header, strip off a length of the rubber coating. Twist the stranded wire together and tin the bare wire using a soldering iron.

Slide a sequin LED over each end of the cable. Be sure to line up the red JST cable with the positive end (+) of the sequin.

Solder the front and back of the sequin's copper pads to secure the sequin in-place.

Add a second sequin to the chain, and solder it to the cable.

Five sequins are included with the Digi-Key IoT Home Kit. You may use all five or less (we used two here). Connect and solder the rest of the sequins.

Using hot glue, secure the fan's cabling to the roof.

Then, apply hot glue to the JST cable connected to the LED sequins. You may glue the LED portion down, but, these LEDs are not too bright and adding glue may diffuse them too much.

Assembling the Smart Home Hub

Connect the Feather HUZZAH32 to the FeatherWing Quad Kit along with the ADI FeatherWing and the Non-Latching Relay FeatherWing.

Make sure the orientation reflects the image below.

Add a hole for the USB Cable

We'll need to cut a hole on the bottom left side of the home for a USB cable.

This portion is more tricky than it appears. The IOT House is made out of paper maché, not cardboard. If you cut this material slowly with a dull knife or scissors, it will de-laminate. You will want to use a very sharp X-Acto knife or something like the Slice Craft Knife which has a ceramic blade

  • On the bottom left side of the home, measure and mark a hole 20.8mm x 17.4mm
  • Using a sharp blade, cut a hole for the USB cable from the bottom left side of the home.
  • Slide the Smart Home Hub into the smart home

Connect up all the JST connectors and close the roof of the home.

With the Home fully assembled, let's move on to programming it!

This guide was first published on Dec 11, 2019. It was last updated on Dec 11, 2019.

This page (Assembly) was last updated on Oct 21, 2020.