Musical Water Targets

by monty_littleBits

Published on April 21, 2015

Blast away some simple tunes with Musical Water Targets! Use water to close the circuit and jam out on your computer with the Makey Makey keyboard app.

How it Works:

The Makey Makey module is grounded to one of each of the nodes in every target. Each of the three outputs on the Makey makey module is attached to each of the remaining nodes. When water hits the target, it completes the circuit between the two nodes, sending a signal through the Makey Makey module.

Set your Makey Makey up to any of the musical interfaces on Makey Makey’s website, and jam away.

You can find the Makey Makey piano at

How To Make It


Build your circuit as shown in the diagram above, and open the MakeyMakey Piano web application by following the link above on your laptop’s browser. Make sure to set your MakeyMakey module to “space”.


Cut 4 pieces of insulated wire, 3’ (x2), 2’, and 1. 


Solder one end of each piece of insulated wire to the “backside” of each of the three washers. Hold off on one of the 3' lengths...


Cut out a shooting panel to mount your targets onto from a waterproof and non- conductive surface. We laser cut out a 1⁄4” (6mm) thick panel of acrylic sheet into a desired shape. While we were at it, we also went ahead and laser cut the holes for inserting our conductive nodes (thumbtack and washer) into. We also rastered a slot for the washers to fit into.


Insert the thumbtacks into the targets’ center pilot holes and super glue them into place. 


Wrap or solder (or both) the remaining 3' length of wire to the pointy end of each thumbtack coming out of the back of your panel. Start from one end and finish with some extra wire coming off the short edge of the shooting panel.


Next, run each of the wires soldered to washers through each of the holes next to the thumbtacks, from the front side of the panel to the back. Run these wires in the progression of their lengths (1’, 2’, then 3’) in the same direction as the first 3' wire you attached to the panel. Super glue the backside of each of the washers into the rastered “slot” on the front of the shooting panel.


You can choose to shrink wrap the wires together for a cleaner look. Make sure to mark each length of wire somehow, so you know which end to connect to each of the 3 surface contacts on the MakeyMakey module.


Wire the loose end of each wire to the surface contacts on the MakeyMakey module as follows: 1’ to “arrow left”, 2’ to “arrow right”, 3’ to “center”. Connect the first 3' wire (the one connected to all the pins) to the “earth” surface contact. You can loop each wire through the surface contact holes, or use alligator wire clips.


Make sure your MakeyMakey module is set to “space”.


Set up your shooting panel on a wall that you don’t mind getting wet. Make sure to set your laptop/computer as far away from the panel as you can to prevent it from getting wet. Or put an umbrella over it.


Fill up some squirt guns and blast away some melodies!

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