Build a Super Mario Bros Question Block

While playing Super Mario Bros have you ever wanted your own question block, and thought it would be cool to have one? This article goes through the process of making one, although the box looks like a random decorative piece for your doom it is more than that, it has a secret storage unit that can be activated through touch. And when it does activate it lights up! Built with LEDs, servos, and capacitive sensors this question block feels like it popped out right out of a video game.



Linseed oil 

Black stain 

Wood glue 

LED strip 

Step 1

Making a Super Mario Bros question mark is incredibly easy, the device is built in such a way that it is sensitive to touch, that means it can detect a person's touch and open up to reveal a storage space. Before we start building the question box we will have to model the parts with the help of a computer aided design software, this process helps in visualizing the device being built, through this you can check if the placements of the elements needed is accurate. 

Step 2

Once the model is developed. Just developing a model on the computer wouldn't mean that you have built a question box, we now need to start working on bringing the model to life, for this we have to start working on developing the stencils for the question box.  We can print out the model and then start to cut it out into engineer drawings. Everything that is cut out will be transferred into wood.  

Step 3

For this step you will need to transfer the stencils on cut outs on the wood. For this you will need a plank of wood and then will have to place the stencil cut outs over it, with the help of a pen you can start tracing out the stencil cut out onto the wood, make sure the tracing as as accurate as possible since you won't want the box planks to be mismatched.  

Step 4

Now that you have traced out the stencils onto the wood you can start by cutting the traced out parts. To make the cutting process easier, since there are some pretty complex parts, you can use a bandsaw. Using a bandsaw is really convenient as all you have to do is push the wood and then pull it out once you are satisfied with the cut out. However, if you need to be alert while using a bandsaw you might end up cutting the wood much more than needed. If you don't have a bandsaw available you could cut it out manually although it will be a tedious and time consuming process. Once you have ban sawed every part at the edge, you can then chisel out every tooth so that we can mesh it all together. 

Step 5

Once the edges of the box are cut you can move on to cut out the question mark, Drills some holes into the question mark, the drilled holes should me made at the curves of the question mark this is don so that it is easier to cut out the question mark later and to prevent making any errors while cutting. 

You can move on to cut out the question mark, to make the cutting process easier it would be ideal to use a laser cutter or a CNC router, using a scroll saw to cut out the question mark is also another option, if none of these tools are accessible to you, you can cut it out manually, you will need to be very careful while doing this. You will need to repeat all these cutting out processes until you have six sides of the cut out wood. 

Step 6

One you are done cutting out all the 6 blocks of wood, you can then start coating them with some linseed oil, this is a colourless oil that is usually used on wood and works as a preservative, it also helps protect the wood from scratches and changing humidity. 

Step 7

For this step you will need some 40% opaque acrylic sheet. You need to cut out the sheets to the size of the question mark cut out on the wood and place it on the back of the question mark. You can attach the acrylic sheet with the help of some super glue. 

Step 8

You will then need to cut out and build the walls of the inner storage. The storage is made of a square base and walls on all four sides. Since the storage unit will be fixed inside the question mark box it has to be smaller than the question mark box. You will need a square cut out to act as the base and the four walls that are of the same size. You can use some wood glue to attach all the parts of the storage unit. 

Step 9

You will then have to attach the circuit and ensure that the sensors are operating well. You will then have to attach some LED strips to the wood that will be attached at the back , this will help in lighting up the question mark when you touch the box. The LED strips used can be individually activated. After you are done with this you can start attaching all the sub-components to the box. And mesh the box together. You are now done making the box.

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