My name is Guido Bonelli Jr., inventor/designer, nay, MAKER! Creating is woven into my soul like the oceans entrenched in every cavity of the planet. Of particular interest is creating interactive playable artwork.
You see, I love puzzles! If I could, I would laser cut my toast into a jig saw puzzle every morning. Technically, I guess I could, but seems like overkill for a laser cutter. Any who, I’d like to share with you my latest build inspired an epic puzzle game (“The Room” by Fire Proof Games).
I wanted to create a unique piece of furniture for my home which my guests could interact with. I wanted mysterious scriptures scribed all over the sculpture to intrigue my guests. To lure and enchant them like a moth to a flame. But, where would I come up with something like this? I needed a muse.
What inspired me was a puzzle from the first installment of the game “The Room”. If you have never played it, after reading this blog post head immediately over to Google play or the Apple store and download all three games. They are jaw dropping in graphics, mind bending in puzzles and infinitely unique in game play.
Could you imagine walking into a room and seeing this intricate piece of furniture sitting there with unassuming elegance? Adorned with buttons, gears, and secret doors hidden throughout its structure screaming to be inspected. Immediately upon playing the game I thought, “I must build one!” It wouldn’t be till years later that I came up with a design worthy of this puzzle.
Fast forward to December of 2015 where I was looking for a new couch. While looking, I happened upon a very curious clock. For those who know me, mechanical clocks are something of a wonder to me. This was no ordinary clock however, it stood over 6 feet tall, made of solid metal and a giant hourglass in the middle. As I walked around the clock, I touched the steampunk-esque metal wheel and to my surprise, it moved! Not only did it move but actually turned the massive hourglass in the middle. In a flash before my eyes, I began to conceive an idea which would meld my love for clocks and puzzles in one unique piece of furniture.
As the idea began to rummage through my head like a badger burrowing deep into the earth, I started to imagine how I could incorporate an hourglass into my design. After a scouring Pinterest, Facebook, and the very bowels of the interwebs (scary stuff down there) for the perfect hourglass, I had found one! It was carried by a store called Anthropology. Then, like a “Space X rocket”, I hurled my body towards the closest brick and mortar store. Success, they had it in stock! An hour glass wouldn’t be enough to tell time though, it needed to display the hours as well. I didn’t want to simply surround it with numbers and point to it somehow. The thought of making another infinitely gyrating, number hunting arm built into my Mona Lisa was not appealing. Then it hit me! It needed to have a Roman numeral dial with hint of RGB back lighting of course! Duh right? I KNOW!
As the outer box started taking shape, I realized that there was plenty of room to contain “stuff”. But what kind of “stuff”? Well… puzzles of course.
My eyes started darting back and forth conjuring images of thoughts long since passed. In a flash of brilliant white light, an old 35 mm film reel began to churn in my mind. It was from my favorite child hood movie. GOONIES, “Sloth love chunk!” Still to this day, that movie makes my inner child want to grab the nearest ruler and shake it in the air like a pirates sword.
Whilst screaming for your neighbors buried gold. “Arrrrggggg!” Ps- not advisable in a cubicle environment. People think you’re the weird one…
With that, I decided to make my half clock, half board game, half furniture piece, a treasure hunting game! Complete with lasers, skeleton keys and shhhhhh a treasure vault. Oh, and while we are talking about goonies… When are we getting a remake Mr. Spielberg???
Oh yeah, I bet you are wondering what the treasure is... well.. for that... you would just have to play to find out.
Below is a video which shows how the clock works and actual game play.
I use what I call my 7 step process to design anthing.
I start with my muse, which for me is puzzles, clocks, nature and melding with electronics.
From there I render everything in 3d which I then print out what is feasible on my makerbot replicator 1.
(side note- it has over 500 hours or print time and is still ticking! That's pretty incredible for one of the first makerbot units to roll off the assembly line!)
These 2 steps are absolutley critical in getting out all of the bugs.
Once I am happy with the form and fit, Ill send out all my PCB's, wood to get cut and order all parts.
While Im waiting for my parts to arrive, I begin to write my code and use a hardware simulating tool I designed.
Once all the parts come in, I begin the integration phase. Since everything has been worked out from the steps described above, the model usually comes together with very little trouble.
Gooniebox, believe it or not, didn't have 1 single design mistake. Now, don't get me wrong, during the 3d modeling and printing phases, I had billions of mistakes.
However this process allows me to minimize that tremendously.