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$1,013 pledged of $7,500 goal
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By Joe Hoskisson
$1,013 pledged of $7,500 goal
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About this project

Two things this project is trying to solve:

1. How in the world are you going to get back at your brother for putting that Kool-Aid in your shower head twenty years ago?

2. How can you find a fun project to develop coding and electronics skills with the Raspberry Pi while at the same time making a wireless squirt machine?

The answer to problem #2 is the Raspberry Pi Water Gun Kit. The answer to #1 is correct placement and timing of the finished product.

The good news is that the Raspberry Pi Water Gun Kit is almost ready for your use. Currently on its third prototype, the water gun recently became battery powered and wireless so you can place it in strategic positions. You can pivot it left an right with the touch of a button and make it squirt by pressing space bar.

Luckily for the curious but novice squirt machine makers in our midst, this kit uses a Raspberry Pi Computer as the brain. The Raspberry Pi was thought up by Eben Upton, who at the time was a professor at Cambridge. He envisioned it as a device to help kids learn computer science by giving them an inexpensive computer they could tinker with. Since then the Raspberry Pi has developed into many do-it-yourself projects for kids and adults alike. People have built things from magic mirrors to, well, wireless squirt machines.

In keeping with Upton's vision of devices that help you learn, this electronics kit is aimed for both the intermediate and amateur electronics enthusiast.

The following features make it accessible:

  • no soldering required
  • quality instruction manual
  • complete Python code to get the water gun to squirt and pivot

Along the way in the building process you will learn about:

  • How to setup the Raspberry Pi
  • How to connect to the Raspberry Pi with your desktop or laptop over WiFi
  • Basic circuitry using components such as resistors, transistors, and diodes
  • General Purpose Input Output pins on the Raspberry Pi (these pins allow you to control external devices)
  • Solderless prototyping boards or breadboards
  • Basic programming concepts in the Python language
  • Basic commands in the Linux terminal (command line)

As you can see, that is quite a lot to learn. The thought is that learning while you are making something fun will keep you motivated. So whether this is your first or twentieth electronics project and whether you're twelve or adult-aged, have fun making!

What you'll get in the standard kit with the current design (subject to improvement):

  • instruction manual
  • case
  • base for water gun
  • container for water
  • a 3-6 volt dc pump
  • dc-dc converter
  • cable to connect batteries to Raspberry Pi
  • battery holder
  • batteries
  • mini solderless breadboard
  • jumper wires
  • 2 resistors (in case you break one)
  • 2 transistors (in case you break one)
  • 1 diode

Note: the standard kit does not include the Raspberry Pi. But you can select the reward that does include the Raspberry Pi!

How hard is it to put together?

There are quite a few interesting steps to building this water gun. It takes using principles from circuits to coding. So will you be able to put learn what you need to and put it together?

I'm committed to making this a good learning experience. The instruction manual will draw on my experience in education. I do a few things to practice explaining difficult concepts. I teach web development professionally at V School. I've had a good amount of fun in private tutoring sessions with kids in coding using previous water gun prototypes. I also run a STEM education website called Climbing Tree where I blog on fun and interesting topics.

From this practice, I hope to make an instruction manual that is accessible and effective. I also may make videos to back up the learning process for those who purchase the kit. All this goes into making the kit a fun way to learn more coding and electronics skills.

Risks and challenges

As you can see, there is already a working prototype for the water gun. However there is still a bit of legwork to do. For example:

- The instruction manual needs to be written in an easy-to-follow manner. My experience in explaining difficult concepts as a private tutor for kids in coding as well as a professional web development instructor at V School will help make this manual accessible.

- One goal of the kit is to have no soldering required. In the current prototype, two contact points needed soldering. By ordering different parts and/or having a custom circuit board printed, this goal should be obtainable within short order. Project funding will help!

- The prototype works with 6 double aa batteries. However, I may consult with someone about the optimal battery situation. I also want to increase the distance on the water gun by changing the circuitry around a bit. This may alter the design, but I don't foresee it causing a significant delay.

- As is usual for prototypes, some parts were more expensive than they would be in bulk. Some costs will need to be reduced from the prototype to the final product. This should be solved by finding good places to source the parts. Luckily the funding through the Kickstarter campaign will help with those upfront costs and I know some people who are knowledgeable or well-connected who can help solve this!

Though the final product is within grasp, the funds from this Kickstarter project will help immensely in making this fun, educational kit a reality. Think of the children!

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    Your name read by a voice actor

    To show thanks for supporting this project, those who buy this reward will have their name appear in a thank you video and READ BY A VOICE ACTOR. (Make sure the name is family-friendly).

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Instruction Manual PDF

    A PDF of the instruction manual the kit-buyers get, so you can try improvising the design with parts you get yourself. When done, share your experience with others!

    (All the kits include an instruction manual).

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    One Hour Lesson

    Whether you bought the standard kit or the kit including the Pi we can video chat and I can help you get started assembling. Or we can discuss other basic electronics or Raspberry Pi concepts.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Early Bird Standard Kit

    The kit to build a wireless squirt machine to use with your own Raspberry Pi.

    US shipping included.

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    Pledge $48 or more About $48

    Standard Water Gun Kit

    The kit to build a wireless squirt machine to use with your own Raspberry Pi.

    US shipping included.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Early Bird with Raspberry Pi

    The kit to build a wireless squirt machine plus a Raspberry Pi 3, 2.5A power supply, 8 GB (or 16 GB) SD card preloaded with basic operating system, hdmi cable, hdmi/vga adapter, and ethernet cable. Full set of what you need to get started when you have your own laptop or usb keyboard and mouse!

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    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    Water Gun Kit with Raspberry Pi

    The kit to build a wireless squirt machine plus a Raspberry Pi 3, 2.5A power supply, 8 GB (or 16 GB) SD card preloaded with basic operating system, hdmi cable, hdmi/vga adapter, and ethernet cable. Full set of what you need to get started when you have your own laptop or usb keyboard and mouse!

    US shipping included.

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Funding period

- (21 days)