The Blinky Box

Last year this awesome story by Miria Grunick appeared in one of my feeds. I was immediately inspired to create one for Cam and this year I finally built him his very own Blinky Box.

I made a few changes to her design: a switch in the upper left toggles a solid color vs. flashing lights mode. Plus the knob in the upper right rapidly changes the frequency of flashing.

I had the top laser cut as I have no idea how to cut a plastic box. (If you’re in Seattle, get it done at Metrix Create Space so you can watch them do it – and it only costs $7 or so)

The Box

Here’s a video of it in action:

If you want to make your own, the code’s on Github; feel free to fork as it’s definitely not optimal. I also included the .SVG for the laser cutting; I recommend making the holes for the arcade buttons a little bigger as mine stick – 0.5mm should be enough.

You can get the bill of materials on Miria’s Github repo; if you make my version you’ll also need a switch.

For anyone who tries it and gets stuck, here are some photos of some of the major breadboarded items. Should be enough to get you over any hump:

Wires

More Wires

Throwing Light

For Christmas I bought Wen an “Etch” by Tom Dixon. It’s a tetradecahedron (14 sides; mixture of hexagons and squares) where 13 of the faces have hundreds of holes cut in them and one face is open. You’re supposed to leave the open face up and drop a candle in it.

However, our apartment is full of candles (they were my mom’s gift of choice for years; we have a great selection) so I’ve basically sworn that I’m not allowed to bring any into the house. Plus, I thought it would be more interesting if the Etch was flipped upside down and instead powered by a brighter-than-a-candle-and-more-colourful-too BlinkM (an LED that can be programmed to cycle through colours).

Here’s the result:

I built a little box to house the BlinkM and it’s battery pack; the Etch sits on top of it. The video doesn’t do it justice (I don’t really know how to do low lighting video) and definitely doesn’t capture the range of lights and shadow-or the nifty projections it makes on the ceiling.

Here are a couple of photos to give you a better idea of what it looks like when lit up: