HackMakeMod devised a creative DIY teaching potentiometer using a pencil and 3D-printed components, perfect for demonstrating the concept of variable resistance. Recognizing the similarity between the graphite in pencil lead and the carbon composition material found in traditional potentiometers, they constructed a simple yet effective device to illustrate the function of a potentiometer.
The design features a 3D-printed body that securely holds a strip of paper smeared with pencil graphite around its inner diameter. A shaft with a wiper, made from a stripped hookup wire, makes contact with the paper strip, allowing for variable resistance. A clip ensures everything remains firmly in place during operation.
While this DIY potentiometer is not suitable for practical applications due to its construction, it excels in educational settings by providing a tangible representation of how potentiometers work. Its open design allows students to inspect the internals and understand how the position of the wiper corresponds to changes in resistance. Additionally, the modularity of the design enables easy experimentation with different resistance materials, such as using different lead grades to achieve various resistance values.