Gifts Galore

Gifts for my friends
Gifts for my friends

So a while back, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a “pay it forward” type of challenge. The idea was that for the first five people who agreed to do the same, you were supposed to do something nice. They would post the same challenge on their pages, and so on and so forth. Well, I decided to do this on a whim. But instead of just doing something nice, I decided to make gifts for people. I told them that all five gifts would be made by me.

Of course, this is me we’re talking about. Even a couple of friends noted that the language of the post was odd and not like me. This is true given that I just copied the text of the challenge, but they still felt it was out of character. Therefore, to stay in character, I decided to make the gifts unique. Here now, are the five gifts I made for my friends.

Recipient: James
Gift: Custom made drink coasters with the BSA logo
Materials: Acrylic and cork sheet
Tools used: CorelDraw/Inkscape, laser cutter, and spray adhesive

James was the one who started this whole thing with the challenge. Since he works for the BSA, I decided to make him some coasters. I’ve done this before for other friends, so it was an easy job to just modify the files and engrave and cut them. Then it was just a matter of gluing the top cork to the bottom acrylic. James probably has a ton of stuff with the BSA logo, but I figured he could use some nifty coasters at work and home.

Recipient: Mark
Gift: Wooden nameplate
Materials: Pine wood, stain, polyurethane coating, velcro tape
Tools used: Bandsaw

Mark is my most excellent coworker and sits in a cubicle that’s next to mine. He’s always good for a joke or random stream of consciousness discussion at work. They’re probably going to separate us at work when we move to a new building.

I made Mark’s gift using a technique that I saw Jimmy Diresta do. He prints out some text, cuts it on a bandsaw and then makes a sign out of it. Very cool. Mr. Diresta is a phenomenal guy; I wish I could make stuff like him. Here’s the video that I emulated when making my gift.

Recipient: MK (well, her kids)
Gift: Door signs
Materials: Acrylic
Tools used: CorelDraw/Inkscape, laser cutter

For MK’s kids, I made some door labels. These are based on the same ones that I made for my boys some time ago. I asked her their favorite colors, and then obtained acrylic sheet in those colors (or something as close as possible). The small signs fit in by friction/snug fit.

Recipient: Adam
Gift: Light up KISS statues
Materials: KISS models, NeoPixel LEDs, Arduino, wood, wires, solder, etc.
Tools used: Glue, model pieces, Arduino IDE, soldering iron, table saw

I’m not really going to explain this one. Just watch the video. Adam also gets 4 posters that came with the models. Why did I make this? Because when 4 KISS models go on sale, they just beg to be made all flashy shiny blinky.

Recipient: Heidi
Gift: Custom made box with a surprise inside
Materials: Pine wood, polyurethane, cabinet hardware
Tools used: Planer, joiner, miter saw, laser cutter, AutoDesk Inventor, CorelDraw/Inkscape, paintbrush

This is the gift that I am most proud of. It started out as a simple concept but morphed into more and more as I went along. I obtained some pine boards and planed them down to 1/2″. I was originally going to make box joints, but I don’t have a dado set for my table saw, and getting one was going to take time. So I planed them down to 1/4″ and did it on the laser cutter. The designs on the front and side are my own creation with a little help from, ahem, borrowed clip art. Unfortunately, taking it down to 1/4″ meant I couldn’t use the wood screws for the hinges and latch, so I used some 10-24 bolts I had laying around. It gives it a nice industrial finish.

The inside contains some medicinal items based on her husband’s suggestion. If you can’t read the script, it’s a tonic for mothers of teenage daughters. It cures ills, aches, pains, frustrations, and such from having a teenage daughter. Directions say to apply liberally to glass as needed.

Author: Tinkering Engineer

Any day you don't end up in the ER needing stitches is a good day.