This passing weekend I shopped around the Container Store and bought a nice rectangle box. And I also found from the junk shelf early this semester two pieces of white acrylic boards, which seem to be used for doing prisoner’s dilemma game. So I decide to do an enclosure for displaying the game.
The basic idea for exterior of the enclosure is pretty simple: the game board locates right at the center of the box, with two kinds of push buttons placing on the board, red for “Betray” function and black for “Silent” function, and two diffused RGB LEDs . Two black acrylic pieces placing besides the board on each sides. The semicircle shape space is designed for easy opening of the acrylic pieces.
A lesson I learnt when I tried to the joints to connect the acrylic pieces to the box is that, joints are something you should plan ahead when you are sketching your prototype. I am struggling to find ways to make the acrylic pieces firmly attached to the box as well as easy to be opened when needed. Either using rare earth magnets or hinge design requires early planning in choosing the container and designing the shapes of the connecting parts.
To mount the white acrylic board to the box, I came up with this idea to stick a sponge stripe, which is called Grip Print Non-Adhesive Shelf Liner from Con-tact, around the inner side of the box. The rubber-texture stripe features a non-adhesive, non-slip grip surface. Then I used a laser cutter to cut an acrylic frame that matches the shape and the inner perimeter of the box. So now I could stick the white acrylic board onto the black acrylic frame, I could have the white board mounted to the box.
I also changed the design for the two black acrylics. I turned them into the places for a tiny speaker, and a place for a slider that controls the volume. So the box could play different audio effects for different game results, either a music or some sentences, and players could use the slider to get a proper volume.
The original idea was to place the slider and the speaker on the side of the box. But then I realized there is no way I could use laser cutter to cut enough space for them, since the box is too tall for the laser cutter if I want it to cut on the side. So I later decided to take use of the black acrylic boards on the surface.
Inside the box there will be Arduino micro-controller and a breadboard. Considering that there will be a long cable attaching to the Arduino board, I drilled hole using the power tool and a drill bit (because the box is also too tall for a drill press). The box from the Container Store isn’t well made, so the power tool did mess up with the inner side of the wood board but I figured out to clear it up. So the cable now could be extended to the outside of the box.
There are some very useful takeaways I have when making this enclosure. if you decide to buy/use a pre-made container, you have to compromise some of your design to the pre-set container. Like being not able to use laser cutter on the side of the box, or not able to drill a nice, clean hole on the side before the box was assembled. And also don’t actually glue any parts together unless you are 100% sure about your design. I changed the design for the two black acrylic boards last minutes, and I was so glad that I hadn’t glued it to the frame. Also, you never know how things could take up the space you have unless you actually put them in. I used to think about doing some partition inside the board to make it look more organized, but it was already very packed for an Arduino board + a breadboard+ cable + slider.