Version 3
    element14 presents
    DIY Star Trek Tricorder from Build Inside the Box

    element14 Presents  |  Bald Engineer: James Lewis' VCP Profile |  Workbench Wednesdays



    The tricorder is the most ubiquitous scanning tool from Star Trek. Using the parts from the Build inside the box Competition, James builds a Baldcorder. Inspired by the tricorder’s design, his device can measure light levels and temperature. And it includes blinky LEDs (NeoPixels) so you can see it scanning. For build files and brief instructions, check the community page for details.


    To be clear, “Shades of Grey” is not anyone’s favorite TNG episode. This is why we wanted to make sure we included never-seen-before content in this build. So even if you already watched the 500th episode, there are new segments and details on how the Baldcorder build went.


    Attached to this document are the same STL files used in the build. Please don’t leave your printer unattended when printing the body pieces. My printer failed about one-third of the time I tried to build it.


    A version of the vinyl decals is attached for reference. The layers and colors are set up so that the red lines should be a cut line on a vinyl (or laser?) cutter.


    All of the Arduino code should compile with 1.8.x version of the IDE. You’ll need to install Arduino MKR ZERO support in the board manager. The “” file has links to the libraries you need as well.


    Attached is a snapshot of the code when I finished the project. Below is a link to the Github repo, which might be newer.


    Live Stream Links:


    While this video is only about 20 minutes, at least 40 hours went into building the Baldcorder. Below is a list of links to all of the live streams where I worked on the project, by subject. (Initial CAD designs, the decal design, painting tests, final painting, 3d printing, and final assembly were all done “off-line.”)



    Supplemental Content:



    Bill of Material:


    Product NameManufacturerQuantityBuy KitBuy Kit
    Arduino MKR ZeroArduino1Buy NowBuy Now
    Multicomp Pro USB BankMulticomp Pro1Buy NowBuy Now
    WAGO Pluggable Terminal BlockWAGO1Buy NowBuy Now
    MCP604 Op AmpMicrochip1Buy NowBuy Now
    PhototransistorVishay1Buy NowBuy Now
    OLED DisplayMIDAS1Buy NowBuy Now
    Analog Temperature SensorMicrochip1Buy NowBuy Now
    TOF Range/Proximity SensorST Micro1Buy NowBuy Now
    NeoPixel StickAdafruit1Buy NowBuy Now


    Additional Parts:


    Product Name
    Adafruit Quarter Perma-Board