In this project we’re going to show you how to make your mailbox more fun and usefull. With this mailbox, if a letter is in your mail you have a nice light wich shows if you have mail, and you can controll this mailbox with bluetooth to automaticly throw away or keep your mail, with your phone.
we used an arduino and some attachments to make it and we’re going to show you how your can make this for yourself.
Step 1: What Do You Need?
You’ll be needing a range of objects to make this mailbox.
– a loose mailslot (you can probably buy these at a thrift shop)
– some wood (to make the box we used MDF)
– 2 arduino UNO’s
– a LDR (and a 220 resistor)
– an Adafruit Neopixel ledring (we used the 16 led ring)
– 2 servo’s
– 1 HC-06 slave bluetooth module
and some wires to connect evrything to the arduino’s, many woodworking tools like a drill, sandpaper, tape, a saw, a jigsaw, and some hammer and nails.
Step 2: Making the Box
So now that you have your tools and equipment, we can start by making a reasonable size box. The minimum size of the box is 2 times the width of your mailslot, and 3 times the height of your mail slot (But you can make it as big as you want). when making the box, make sure you have a hole cut where the mailslot has to be, and you have room to make holes and cut pieces out.
if you made your box, it’s time to measure it and place 1 of the servo motors directly underneath the mailslot, and the other servo at the same place on the other side (don’t attach them to the wood yet!). If you have those in their correct spot, then you can find a light and smoothe piece of wood to put between the servo’s and make sure it can make a 50 degree turn each way, this is gonna be your surface where the mail comes. first you need to drill a hole in the wood where the mail is gonna be (probably the middle) and make the hole the size of your LDR, after that you’ll push the LDR through the hole till the top is on the same level as the wood and then tape the underside so it’s attached. now you’ll connect this piece of wood to the servo’s and carefully attach them in their spot. At last you’ll drill some holes in the wood where you want your NeoPixel ring to be. for this process you’ll have to carfully and precisely drill the holes in the correct places. once you’re satisfied and the holes are in the correct place, you can tape your NeoPixel ring to the back and we can start with coding.
Step 3: Coding the Arduino’s
so to start off, we’ll need to code the arduino wich is going to be checking if there’s mail. This arduino will be connected to your LDR (with a 220 resistor), and your NeoPixel ring. the code for this arduino is called Code for Ring. next you’ll need to take your second arduino and connect the servo’s and the bluetooth module. The code for this arduino is called Code for Phone, because we also need to connect it to your phone. For this we used a simple app making website called MIT App Inventor. With this program we made a simple interface with wich you can connect to the bluetooth, and change the values in the serial monitor of the arduino. The arduino then reads from the serial monitor and checks if the value is 1 2 or 3, and if it is, it can do something like controling the servo’s.
Step 4: Finish
if you builld everything right and connected all the arduino attachments withouth short circuiting any wires, then you can test your beautifull creation. plug both arduino into your computer (or use some sort of powerbank or battery) and see your work in action. place a letter on your LDR and the ring wil shine, connect your app to the arduino through bluetooth and turn the plate to throw away your mail, or keep your mail. We even used a paper shredder to destroy unwanted mail.
That was it! go make your own beautifull mail of the future system!