Valentine’s puzzle box makes you work for what’s inside


Here’s a new take on a gift box which has been locked from the inside. I doesn’t rely on GPS coordinates or a real-time clock to unfasten the latch. Instead, the box itself acts as a puzzle. You follow the visual and audio clues, turning the box along three axes in order to input the unlock code.

There are three different difficulty settings. The easiest uses the LED heart to indicate which direction to turn the box next. This is accompanied by a beep for correct or a longer tone for incorrect movements. On the medium setting you can only go by the tones, but once you screw up the lights will aid you in getting back to where you where when making the mistake. The impossible setting doesn’t use the lights at all.

[Matt] took inspiration from some reverse geocache projects featured here on Hackaday. He already had an STM32F3 Discovery board on hand which he received as a sample. It’s driving all of the electronics inside, with the on-board gyroscope as the input device. Don’t miss the video after the break to see how well the thing works.

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Box Maker extension for Inkscape

If you use Inkscape to lay out your laser cutter designs you might want to look into this box maker extension. Inscape is [Elliot’s] drawing software of choice since it’s easy to use, and it’s open source. After having to lay out the tabs for a box he decided it was worth his effort to develop a tool to do this automatically. The extension works inside of Inkscape, letting you start your projects with a set of automatically generated box sides.

The input window for the extension leaves you plenty of options for the joint design. In addition to the size of the box (inside or outside measurements can be selected), you need to enter the thickness of the material, the kerf size (how wide the cut will be), and how much clearance you want between the teeth. The width of the teeth is also configurable.

Our feature of a laser cut replacement case is what prompted [Elliot] to tip us off about his extension. That project used a web-based parts generator to do the joint design.

A mixer (re)built to travel

[Toby Cole] likes to mix tunes whenever he gets a chance. But the size of his DJ equipment made it a real bother to lug around with him. He does own a Behringer portable mixer but without cross faders it’s not really all that usable, and most of the other offerings don’t get good reviews. He ended up replacing the enclosure of a proper mixer in order to make it light and small. The growing availability of affordable laser-cut parts made this project possible.

Build Brighton, [Toby’s] local Hackerspace, has a laser cutter. So he knew that if he could figure out a smaller case design it would be a snap to get his parts made. He cracked open the heavy metal case on the KMX 100 mixer and found it had a ton of extra room inside. He designed all of the plates using a digital calipers to properly space the holes and text labels. These designs were combined with BoxMaker to produce the files the laser cutter needed. The first prototype was cut from cardboard, with the finished product cut from 3mm plywood.

Building better cases with a laser cutter

[Ryan] just got his Raspberry Pi, and what better way to add a new toy to your workbench than by building a case for it? Using a laser cutter and 3D printer, [Ryan] managed to make a case that is sure to be the envy of all the other tinkerers at his hackerspace.

The build started off with a piece of dark red acrylic in a laser cutter. After cutting the Raspberry Pi logo out of this acrylic, [Ryan] cut the same logo – a little bit larger – out of plywood. Because he was very careful to measure the kerf (or the width of the laser beam/saw blade/what have you), the wooded version of the Raspi logo fit snugly inside the acrylic cut out.

The sides of the enclosure are a single piece of plywood with a kerf bend, making for a very attractive rounded case. Finally, the Raspberry Pi is mounted on a Pi plate printed on a Ultimaker.

For as many builds we see using a laser cutter here on Hackaday, there’s surprisingly little information on exploiting the true potential of these machines with marquetry, intarsia, or fretwork. Enclosures are always cool, so if you have a very elegant laser cut box, send it in and we’ll put it up.

Making the case for cool project enclosures


Quite often, we see project boxes that seem to be constructed more as an afterthought than anything else. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with stuffing your latest creation into a nondescript black box, or even cardboard if it happens to fit your needs. Sometimes however, an enclosure embodies the spirit of a project, making it all that much cooler.

[Adam] recently picked up a copy of Make magazine and decided to build their “Luna Mod”, a sound effects generator and looper based on a PICAXE-08M. Aside from the micro controller the Luna Mod includes a couple of pots, a switch, and a few LEDs – nothing incredibly striking. Once he had everything assembled on a strip of protoboard, he started working on his enclosure.

The enclosure is made from an old record, which after some trial and error, [Adam] got just right. The record was heated and cut, then bent into shape. While it’s not necessarily a hack, we think it looks pretty slick. It really fits the theme of the Luna Mod and is far more attractive than a plain plastic box.

Stick around to see his sound generator in action.

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Don’t hit that switch!


Hackaday reader [Danukeru] sent us a video featuring a box-based robot with an interesting personality. The box is fairly simple and from the outside seems to consist only of a switch and an LED. When the switch is flipped however, the box comes to life.

When the box is activated, the lid opens, and a small arm reaches out to turn the switch off. We’ve seen that plenty of times, but this one turns out to be a little different. In the video, this process seems to repeat a couple dozen times before the robot gets angry and flips out. At first we thought that the end portion of the video was done with a bit of digital trickery, but after reviewing the creator’s blog, it looks like it could be legit. It is very hard to see the box’s innards in the video, but it does house a remote control car chassis that allows it to move around and spin out, as seen below.

It’s a pretty neat project, and if you can handle reading the creator’s site via Google translate, there is plenty of picture documentation of the build process for your perusal.

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Booby box – It’s a trap!

Here’s a puzzle oddity that challenges you to open the box without falling into one of the booby-traps. It was built as a side-distraction from the more serious events happening at Insomni’hack 2011. [Sergio] and a colleague built the box to resemble a ticking bomb like in the blockbuster action movies we know you look forward to seeing each summer. A display on top of the device counts down for ninety seconds with an audible beep to mark the passage of time and boost your tension level. See it ticking away in the clip after the break.

Two wires meet at the edges of the box halves, completing a circuit that will set off an alarm when the contact is broken. There’s also a photocell on the bottom of the box which triggers the alarm if you lift it and expose this sensor to light. The combination necessary to open the box was provided to each competitor; it was not a numerical code, but a color code. Three potentiometers control the red, green, and blue anodes of an RGB LED, while being monitored by an Arduino at the same time. If you can dial in the appropriate color, the lid trap is disabled and the box can be opened. What does the winner get? Why an Arduino, of course!

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