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77: A punch in the face.

September 10, 2011

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.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2011 4:33 pm

    that’s really great 😄 did you consider putting it in a box that was less tall and a little longer? then you could put it in at more of an angle, and it would have been a more direct punch in the face.

    • September 10, 2011 4:37 pm

      I had planned to put it in a small box, but the build got out of hand quickly. In the first part of the video you can see the box I was going to use. You can also see that there’s no way it would fit.
      Oh well, there’s always next time.

      • boblog permalink
        October 26, 2011 4:52 pm

        Found your blog via reddit, just wanted to say you are a cool guy with awesome ideas. Keep it up!

      • October 26, 2011 4:55 pm

        Thank you, I plan to.

  2. September 10, 2011 8:26 pm

    I gotta say I’m glad all you made me was a nice zippered pouch. I use it every day and it makes me think of you and Megan (awwwww isn’t that sweet?).

    Jen 🙂

  3. September 11, 2011 1:56 pm

    I have to say, that box seemed incredibly suspicious. Who would open a box like that?

  4. September 11, 2011 3:03 pm

    I like the way your mind works. You may have also missed a side career as silent movie actor.

  5. Deborah Hepworth permalink
    September 12, 2011 6:17 am

    I have great suspicion that invention was born many years ago by a much younger boy who had pesky twin brothers?

  6. November 17, 2011 1:14 pm

    I’m not sure why you didn’t put barbed-wire on the glove, but it’s still a really cool gift.

  7. November 26, 2012 9:14 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you for posting this article! For years I’ve wanted to have a boxing glove just like yours pop out of a top hat during my magic show. Now I can!

    Thanks!!

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