77: A punch in the face.
Last week, when I made something for a friend, some commenters said I had very lucky friends. This week, I intend to put that idea to rest.
I recently built something for another friend of mine, who was celebrating his 35th birthday. For the occasion, I decided to give him a spring-loaded boxing glove in a box, which is something I’ve always wanted to make.
More photos and a video after the jump.
I wanted to do this in the traditional cartoon-style where it’s an old-fashioned extend-o-glove that shoots out of the box. I knew I would need some thin slats of wood, so I hit the local Goodwill.
You can count on there always being at least one of these extending coat racks for sale at any thrift store. This was a bit bigger than I needed, but the wood was the right thickness, so I cut everything in half.
Then I bolted it together, super-glued the nuts to the bolts, and attached some springs. It worked.
It worked almost too violently. In less than a tenth of a second this thing goes from full compression to full extension. SNAP!
Because of that, I knew I would have to make the boxing glove part very, very soft. I want to surprise him, not injure him.
Sewing a boxing glove shape is incredibly easy. You just cut out an arch shape, and sew darts into it until it curls up. Who knew?
This glove is enormously oversized, so I could cram it full of stuffing. But I also had to figure out how to mount it to the extension arm.
Any stick shape inserted in the wrist hole would just poke through all the loose stuffing and come out of the top. I needed to make a mushroom-shaped piece that would compress the stuffing, and not end up being a spring-loaded poke-in-the-eye. So, I cut something out and glued it together.
While that was drying, I figured out how to mount the arm to the bottom of the box.
In this configuration, it starts out going straight up and ends angling a little toward the front of the box. Perfect. If I could convince him to open the box from that side, it should hit him right in the face. Maximum hilarity angle.
Finished stuffing the glove, added a thumb, and closed it up with the mounting bar inside.
Then I attached the glove to the stand. That’s when I realized that the weight of the glove made the (previously violently effective) spring setup almost completely non-functional.
Time was running out, and so I just attached more springs (not pictured) to the structure. It worked.
All I had left to do, was build the custom gift box. With the clever use of a hinge, the gift recipient was sure to open it from the intended side. (And just to be extra sure it was facing the right way, I wrote a little note on that side, too.)
I admit that the trigger mechanism was haphazard at best. I had plans for an amazing triggering setup, but I ended up going with a string tied to the top of the box lid. It worked , but I wish I had allotted time to do it better.
Here’s a video of me trying it out, tweaking it, and eventually getting it to work.
So how did it work at the birthday party? Let’s just say, it went off without a hitch. The birthday boy got hit square in the face, and everybody laughed. Sure it did. Too bad nobody got a video.