I needed something to test out a low-power laser cutter, and thought that some small cardboard boxes would fit the bill nicely, so off I went to scour the Interwebs for a quick-and-dirty finger-joint box generator. And the best of the best was to be found, drumroll please, on Hackaday.io. [Florian Festi]’s boxes.py not only has a sweet web interface, covers an absurd number of box styles, and includes kerf tests to ensure that your joints are tight, but it’s also written in easy-to-extend Python for when you have really particular needs.
But you won’t need to design anything of your own. There are already boxes with living hinges, boxes that fit 19″ racks, Eurorack skiff boxes with laser-cut mounting rails, and even a generic electronics project box with mounting ears for your PCB. Console2 has integrated clips on the rear service hatch.
You need a pentagonal prism with a round opening? What size? I guess a complete arcade-style console is technically a box. Naturally, there are also geartrains and even a robot arm design. Wait, what?
Each of the box designs is fully customizable, so it’s easy to make something like a box with customized dividers, where the different compartments are specified in a sweet text markup. [Florian]’s example box set for the game Agricola is amazing.
Underpinning the code is a LOGO-like finger-joint drawing routine. This makes it relatively easy to draw your own funny shapes, and have the hard work of thinking through the joining fingers taken care of by the computer. [Florian] seems open to taking pull requests for new box shapes, but I haven’t thought of one yet.
I can’t say enough about how cool boxes.py is, and most of the demo applications are worth a look on their own. This was an entry in the Hackaday Prize back in 2017, and it’s been growing and improving ever since. Way to go, [Florian] and Co.
If you have ever thought that working out a Collatz sequence by hand was alright but lacked buttons and lights, the Collatz-o-matic by [mechatronicsguy] has you covered!
The device is a type of Tag system calculator. [mechatronicsguy] explains that a Tag system is a method of computing similar to a Turing machine; it consists of a read & write FIFO array (or tape or queue) of indeterminate length, and at every step the system reads the symbol at the “head”, deletes a fixed number of symbols from the “head”, and depending on what that first symbol was, appends one or more symbols to the “tail”. Then the process repeats with whatever new symbol is at the head.
The Collatz-o-Matic uses an RGB LED string to represent the queue, and is set up in the following way:
- Delete two symbols (tags) from the front of the queue.
- If the first symbol deleted was:
- A – then write BC to the rear of the queue
- B – then write A to the rear of the queue
- C – then write AAA to the rear of the queue
Numbers are as easily represented as any other symbol, and the Collatz conjecture is that no matter what integer you start with, the system (probably) always eventually reaches state 1. There is video of the device demonstrating exactly that embedded below. Continue reading “The Collatz-O-Matic: A State Machine With Style!”
If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance that you plan on making (rather than buying) a few of your Christmas presents this year. But if past history is any indication of future success, we’ll most like run out of time and succumb to the quick-fix that only a big-box store can provide. But at least the packaging can be home made with this cool set of templates to get you started on your way.
The [Rabbitlaserusa] link has many more gift box templates than just the one shown here. In fact, we like this idea so much, we almost wonder if some of the examples could be turned into project enclosures if the right material was used – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We recognize that not everyone has an easy, affordable way to access a laser cutter, so just remember that these designs could be printed out and then cut by hand as well.
And, if your looking for some last minute gift ideas for kids, check out [Rabbitlaserusa] 3D animal gig saw puzzles here.