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Caverna Food Tokens

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Another custom request for Caverna. The original game comes with lots of wooden tokens for carrots, wheat, wood and stone etc, but the food tokens are punched from cardboard. I was asked if it was possible to make a set of wooden food tokens to go along with all the other wooden tokens. I used a mixture of line artwork and engraving to produce this effect. This is definitely a nice project, because at just 16mm diameter I can make lots of these from my scrap materials.

Caverna Mini Expansion Trays

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That didn't take long, once I had listed the Water Expansion trays I was asked to also do the Mini Expansion trays. These expansion look like fun for the original game of Caverna, I may have to acquire a set even if it's just so that I can take photos of populated trays.

Caverna Water Expansion Tray

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I've had the basic Cavernabuilding trays up on my etsy store for a long time now and they sell relatively well. I had a custom request to make a matching tray for the water expansion. I drew the files 6 months ago and showed them to the customer who never responded so, having done all the work, I received no money for it and never actually cut a tray. I figured I should finally get this one listed on my etsy store too because if it's not up there then nobody will know to buy it.

Custom Perspex Coins

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Some friends wanted some custom made perspex coins featuring Dave's face on them. I generally don't do a lot of engraving so it was a good opportunity to try and get some detail into the face. Lightburn has lots of options for engraving images so after a bit of fiddling I was able to sort something out where you could even see the smile and teeth. 
The next issue was making the engraving round. Lightburn imports and engraves square images so I had to do some image manipulation before importing it. A white circle background with a ring provided the additional details. The reverse was a simple vector artwork for engraving. I had an annoying issue where I moved the sheet when I flipped it over so the reverse wasn't particularly well aligned with the front and I ended up cutting some additional pink tokens to go with the purple ones.

4x6 Useless Machine

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The 'big' project I took to maker central was this 4x6 useless machine. I had originally intended to make a 5x5 machine and have a wall of switches to flip but the dimensions of a single sheet of poplar (800x600) made it far more practical to have this arrangement. Twenty four mechanisms were soldered and wired together using a shared battery pack (2xAA) for the whole thing. Each switch has it's own arm so they can all operate at once. There were so many switches I had to draft some helpers in to demonstrate it.

The mechanism is fairly well established now with a simple PCB to solder and hold all the parts in the right places but I'm still pleased with how easily and well it came together. Towards the end of the day when the batteries were wearing out slightly it was possible to flip two switches at the same time and only one of the motors would have the momentum to turn itself off again, but apart from that there were no significant issues with it all day. 

I don'…

2x2 Useless Machine

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Another very overdue Maker Central project, I wanted something for people to fiddle with on display at the exhibition and I've always wanted to jam a load of useless machines together into the same housing so it was a perfect opportunity. I took my standard useless machine and stretched the skin in both directions to accommodate four mechanisms.  

This box was intended as a quick prototype for a larger 5x5 useless machine, the principles were proven but the box wasn't entirely functional. The upper row of mechanisms had nowhere to brace across in the bottom of the box and I forgot to make any wiring holes between the internal panels. It sat unloved on my bench until a tidy up this week when I realised I should dismantle the 5x5 machine and sell the individual mechanism. I resurrected this 2x2 as a much more compact memory of the project. The additional panel across the bottom is simply glued in place (rather than the hook system of the usual skin) but at least it has all the …

Hairdryers and Blowers

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The race track for maker central was built to race wind powered strandbeest against wifi controlled strandbeest, the trouble with the wind powered version is finding the wind indoors. This means letting people blow spittle all over everything, providing some kind of wafting device which usually ends up as a whacking device or an electric fan. I bought a few cheap hair dryers but they barely shifted any volume and couldn't make the blades spin. I've used these squirrel cage blowers before for other projects and know they can really shift some air.

The fan runs off a simple 12V power supply which is passed through a microswitch in the handle. The lever for the switch bent into a button shape to form a trigger, that way the fan is only on when it is required and pointing in the right direction.