Thursday, December 22, 2011
I can't remember why we bought them originally, but in our kitchen drawer were a set of really strong magnets. I removed them to my desk for about a year hoping for an inspiration how to incorporate them into an unwrappable.
They were so strong that it was very difficult to force them together the wrong way. My idea was to build a box that used a magnet as a key. If it worked, it would be another of those counter-intuitive puzzles: pushing when the natural thing to do is pulling. Working again with IMSA's Inventor's Lab gave the box the precision of movement and fit and was required. The magnets were strong, but too much friction would prevent them from doing their job. The prototype showed that, with the right weight spring, the magnet could push another magnet the distance of about 1/2 an inch. This was plenty to serve as a spring-loaded latch on the box.
The box was one piece of the puzzle. The other was how to present the gift, which was a closet audit that Pat had mentioned a few times over the past couple of years. I went online and found a fashion consultant in Naperville who comes to the house to evaluate clothes and suggest what's missing (for which I also had a certificate). I made a couple of paper dresses and placed the certificates in the best one. The interior of the box was cut to hold the little dress.
It's another strong box (#3), but a pretty artsy one and the magnets continue to work their magic!