FAB 4: Enclosure madness.

So, this week out mission was to build an enclosure. (Rubbing hands in glee)

WARNING: Long blog-post ahead.

TL,DR: I build a box for my physical computing project. It was very pretty.

This assignment segued neatly into my physical computing project. for more on the project and it’s background, please go here.

The first sketch of the box was this:

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Initially, I did not have any idea of the dimension or the scale of the box. So, the first stage was to finalize the puzzles and the ergonomic size which was in line with the theme. So, I did just that and finalized the puzzles and the tentative layout.

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I knew that I wanted the box to be big but still fit within people’s hands. A quick test with people on different sizes on the floor and I fixed on it being about 3 feet wide. I also wanted it to resemble the control panels of old on the outside. The insides needed more careful consideration. The box had to be sturdy enough to handle people playing with it so it needed enough cross-bracing. Also, the top panel needed to be swapped in and out so that the box layout could be iterated upon and also adjust the circular screen in the center. Once the dimensions were fixed, the box was built in 2 phases:

Phase 1: Acquire the buttons, knobs and dials and figure out their mounting. This part was probably my favorite in the semester. I spent a good part of 3 days deciding on the buttons, knobs and dials and trawling through the depths of the internet in acquiring them.

Once they arrived, I spent a day playing with them and Lillian spent the time measuring every small detail of them with the callipers. Bringing them over to illustrator and we were ready to do the mounting tests. At this point, it was done on both acrylic and wood so that there was enough flexibility in the future regarding the choice of materials.

Once they arrived, I spent a day playing with them and Lillian spent the time measuring every small detail of them with the callipers. Bringing them over to illustrator and we were ready to do the mounting tests. At this point, it was done on both acrylic and wood so that there was enough flexibility in the future regarding the choice of materials.

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Phase 2: Once the dimensions were figure out, the next task was to build the box. Initially, the idea was to use hardwood but we fell back on ply as it was easy to obtain in the dimensions we needed (and cheaper too). A combination of the miter saw, band saw, sander and voila!

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Once the box frame was done, we spent a week or two play testing and getting the layout right. A week before the submissions, we started the final mounts.

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All ready for the show! Let’s see how this goes <3

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