Lexi’s Brain

My niece Lexi wants to be a brain surgeon, so I decided to get her started.

Inside the Brain Box

It’s like the buzzing “Operation” game, but customized for Lexi.  The items in the cavities represent things she likes or thinks about, and a couple of inside family jokes.  I got some inkjet-printable shrink plastic to create the items.  Getting the sizes and color density right took some trial and error.

Outside the box

It’s all in an ordinary cardboard box, with scrap-book paper glued to the outside.  I suspect that the rubber cement will fail, because I didn’t tuck things in and clamp or weight them, for the most part.  But rubber cement is strong enough and fast enough to use when you are scrambling to get a project together at the last possible minute.

I used a dollar-store battery-powered fan for the buzzer.  Removed the foam blades and screwed a washer to the side of the hub to provide an off-center vibrating effect.  I interrupted the current path at the fan switch, and ran one side to the sheet of steel, the other to some garage-sale tweezers, with a globby, ugly solder job.

I should have taken more in-progress photos, in particular of the process I used for the cavities.  They are just holes drilled with Forstner bits into a scrap of MDF.  The sheet steel was easy to perforate with a stepless drill, then connecting the drill holes by cutting with a Dremel.  Not real neat, but I finished the project in time.  Barely.

The brain image is just printed in ink-jet.  I probably should have laminated it, or at least used a laser printer for a slightly more durable image.

I’m fairly happy with the project, and very happy with Lexi’s reaction, especially when she touched the edge of a cavity and it buzzed at her.

This project was inspired by this one from Make Magazine.

One Reply to “Lexi’s Brain”

  1. This was a really cool project and something I think lots of people could do pretty easily. I especially liked the washer on the fan. It really sounds like the Operation game, only it also makes the whole thing shake just a bit.

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