I recently celebrated my five-year anniversary with my girlfriend, and I wanted to make something special to give her. The result was a kind of mechanical box… object.
Opening the box reveals a platform with five holes evenly spaced around the center. If you hold the box and rotate the bottom, two things happen:
- The platform lowers, revealing five heart-shaped beads on individual axels
- Each heart rotates independently around its vertical axis
At first, I tried making all of the parts using FreeCAD, which I really want to like, but it proved to be far too unstable for me to get vary far. Progress stalled for a bit, but then I decided to just do everything in OpenSCAD instead, which proved much more straightforward. This is definitely the most complex thing I’ve tried with OpenSCAD so far, and I’m happy to say that it worked out great.
To see the box in action, check out the youtube video.
You can also view an album of the build and finishing process
Finally, for the more technically inclined, all the OpenSCAD code is up on github
Recently, my girlfriend’s niece turned 5 years old and as such, was invited to become a member of the Puzzle Keepers of Palau.
The puzzle in this case takes the form of a book (“Alice’s Birthday”) with hidden messages, revealed by looking at the illustrations through a red lens. Solving the puzzle requires tearing/cutting through the last page of the book to reveal a lock, with combination being revealed in the secret messages. Once the lock is off, a panel can be removed to reveal a key, which in turn unlocks a briefcase full of treasure.
For a full album of the puzzle process, head here.
For a while now, I’ve thought that there are lots of great opportunities to expose kids to concepts that are generally considered “advanced” but might not be so if introduced at an early age. This project was an attempt to do just that with a few of the key concepts surrounding DNA.
The toy is a set of plush nucleotides that can snap together to form chains, and connect with velcro across the thymine-adenine and cytosine-guanine bonds. The objects are soft and of a size to be easily handled by a baby. The hope is that kids can use it at different ages, learning different things as they go, something like the following:
- infant: manual dexterity, help with letter recognition (A,T,G, and C, at least)
- childhood: that DNA is a thing that forms chains, is made of up four different kinds of blocks, and that there’s some logic to how those blocks connect
- teenager/college: beloved toy from early childhood that just happens to be a handy reminder of the actual names and chemical structures of the nucleotides
The project was a ton of fun to build, and seems to be being enjoyed greatly by the kids that have received a set. For more info, check out this album of the build process.
Recently, two of my closest friends got married, and as my wedding gift to them, I created a card in which they jointly spray paint a heart (less than three) on a wall. There are two pull tabs- one for the groom, who spray-paints the less than sign, and one for the bride, who spray-paints the three.
the exterior of the card
When my good friends Kyle Payne and Scott Balieu got married (becoming the Radishes in the process), I made them a card featuring pop-up 3-dimensional wedding bells. The card was designed with 3d Studio, Tenkai (now Pepakura designer), and Illustrator. The bells have a bit of elastic to aid in the popping up, since they hang freely from the cross beam.