Overview

You have probably seen one of the adorable cats in the video above or in the picture below while out on the town: Lucky Cats. What is a Lucky Cat? Via Wikipedia:

The maneki-neko (Japanese: 招き猫, literally "beckoning cat") is a common Japanese figurine (lucky charm, talisman) which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In modern times, they are usually made of ceramic or plastic. The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed in—often at the entrance of—shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors, and other businesses. Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning.

Maneki-neko comes in different colors, styles and degrees of ornateness. Common colors are white, black, gold and sometimes red. In addition to ceramic figurines, maneki-neko can be found as keychains, piggy banks, air fresheners, house-plant pots, and miscellaneous ornaments, as well as large statues. It is also sometimes incorrectly called the "Chinese lucky cat" because of its popularity among Chinese merchants.

makecode_cat-small.png
Lucky Cat art, design by freepik - www.freepik.com, free to use credited to freepik

This project will replicate a waving Lucky Cat with papercraft, an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express microcontroller, and a servo motor to wave the cat's paw.

PROJECT UPDATE: An additional variation with a "Lucky Pig" for lunar New Year.

The Circuit Playground Express may be coded in Microsoft MakeCode, CircuitPython, or the Arduino IDE. This guide will show you the code for MakeCode and CircuitPython.

Parts

The project uses only a few parts and runs on standard AA batteries for extended use.

Circuit Playground Express

PRODUCT ID: 3333
Circuit Playground Express is the next step towards a perfect introduction to electronics and programming. We've taken the original Circuit Playground Classic and...
$24.95
IN STOCK

Micro servo

PRODUCT ID: 169
Tiny little servo can rotate approximately 180 degrees (90 in each direction), and works just like the standard kinds you're used to but smaller. You can use any servo...
$5.95
IN STOCK

3 x AA Battery Holder with On/Off Switch, JST, and Belt Clip

PRODUCT ID: 3287
This battery holder connects 3 AA batteries together in series for powering all kinds of projects. We spec'd these out because the box is compact, and 3 AA's add up to about...
$2.95
IN STOCK

Small Alligator Clip to Male Jumper Wire Bundle - 12 Pieces

PRODUCT ID: 3255
For bread-boarding with unusual non-header-friendly surfaces, these cables will be your best friends! No longer will you have long strands of alligator clips that are grabbing little...
$7.95
IN STOCK

USB cable - USB A to Micro-B

PRODUCT ID: 592
This here is your standard A to micro-B USB cable, for USB 1.1 or 2.0. Perfect for connecting a PC to your Metro, Feather, Raspberry Pi or other dev-board or...
$2.95
IN STOCK

Materials

Besides the parts above, you will want to have the following:

  • Piece of cardboard, approximately 10" x 10 " (25 cm x 25 cm)
  • Print of cat (template downloadable in this guide)
  • A half a straw, popsicle stick, or small piece of wood to brace the cat arm
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Tape and/or glue

Alkaline AA batteries (LR6) - 3 pack

PRODUCT ID: 3521
Battery power for your portable project! These batteries are good quality at a good price, and work fantastic with any of the kits or projects in the shop that use AAs. This is a pack...
$2.25
IN STOCK
This guide was first published on Feb 05, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 05, 2019. This page (Overview) was last updated on Dec 02, 2019.