DISCLAIMER: I am not an engineer/STEM person. I got a C in geometry if that’s any indicator and the only math I’m good at is calculus because I’m good at manipulating things.
The first thing I did was conceptualize how in the hell I was going to make a switch not directly set off by hands. My first idea was a windmill, then some type of water-pressure system (once again: not an engineer). After kicking myself for even thinking that water could work with electricity, I focused on the ‘pressure’ part and came up with the idea of a balance pressure switch. Then I drew a little schematic, and I went to building:
Problem no. 1: finding the sturdiest fulcrum.
I tried 3 different types of cylindrical fulcrums, and then settled on making my own triangular on out of some plastic from a false-eyelash container. Reduce, re-use, recycle. As for the actual balance “beam” if you will, I found aluminum foil to be the most accessible conductive material, so I made one with similar dimensions to a piece of 5 gum. Then I made little weight holders, also out of aluminum foil, and stuck them to the beam using nail polish because my glue dried up.
Problem no. 2: proper weight
Initially I used a foil ball to tip the switch, but it was not heavy enough. Eventually I tried a pearl earring and everything went swimmingly.
Here are some bits from my snapchat. As you can tell, I was excited.