Many people getting started with electronics can be confused at how a bipolar transistor works. I decided to help by building a 3D printed prop that attempts to explain it. The design uses the theory of water as current. The Base has a channel for water (current) to flow and a paddle in-line. The paddle is connected to a lever arm that has another paddle blocking the Collector/Emitter channel. When a little bit of water flows into the Base, the paddle is pushed and Collector/Emitter paddle is lifted higher showing the amplification.
The design was created in Tinkercad.com software and printed in two different color PLA plastics. The C, B, E and arrow were all just highlighted by a gold marker for effect. The full story and explanation are show in the video below from my YouTube Channel. In it I describe the differences between Active and Saturation mode. I also included some extra circuitry in the video to help explain the operation.
Hopefully this helps beginners learn how a bipolar transistor works and leads to better understanding of the numerous transistor circuits you can build with a bipolar transistor.
Some people have asked for a FET version but I'm still working on that. The FET is really not that hard to understand so I'm not sure how to approach that just yet. The files are available on Thingiverse if you want to print them out yourself. If you use it in a classroom or any teaching environment all I ask is that you give me credit for the design and mention my YouTube Channel.
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Chuck has been programming with PIC Microcontrollers since there were only five devices. Now there are over 700 and growing. He also has a lot of fun 3D printing designs using his Davinci 3D printer and TinkerCad software. In this series of blog posts and occasional videos on his YouTube Channel he tries to help you get started with electronics and 3D printing.
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