Five minute project: Heart-Shaped Hack Box

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A hack-box to go, filled with interconnects, LEDs, and love. Because, what better way to say I love you, than with the gift of electronics?

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Step 1: Obtain a box of chocolates.


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Step 2: Dispose of the contents of the box.

Begin by checking the ingredients. If you see the words “corn syrup” or “hydrogenated” anywhere, the contents just might make great gifts for your co-workers or boss (if disliked)*. If those words are not present, the contents are likely excellent edibles, and would make suitable gifts for your significant other or boss (if liked).

*Aside: Extensive but anecdotal evidence suggests that co-workers in most contexts tend to genuinely appreciate the presentation of even mediocre chocolates to a degree that is nearly indistinguishable from their appreciation of exceptional chocolates. There is little (if any) shame in exploiting this equivalence, if it still means that you’re giving them chocolate.

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Step 3: Trace the shape of the empty box– the bottom half of the heart-shaped clamshell –onto a piece of paper.

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Step 4: Build a latticework to go inside the box. Heavy cardstock works well; we used 0.020″ chipboard, like the kind that many cereal boxes are made from. The lattice needs to be about the same thickness as the box bottom (7/8″ in our case) and the pieces need to be wide enough to cover the entire traced shape.

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Step 5: Cut the lattice work to size, so that it fits within the traced shape.

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Step 6 (optional): Cut out the traced heart shape to make a liner for the bottom of the box.

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Step 7: Put it all together. Optionally, add tape at selected location to secure the lattice work in place and/or to provide a tight seal around the bottom edges of compartments that will store tiny parts.

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Ready to load and use, or wrap up as a gift for your sweetie.

14 thoughts on “Five minute project: Heart-Shaped Hack Box

  1. Whilst I agree on "donating" anything with "hydrogenated" in the ingredients list, I think you paint "corn syrup" with too broad a brush. Regular corn syrup is mostly glucose, as opposed to the glucose/fructose mix of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Corn syrup may even be better for one than sucrose (ordinary table sugar, a 50/50 mix of glucose and fructose), given the effects of fructose on the liver and metabolism.

        1. No, we definitely know the difference.

          The corn syrup flavor comes through clearly in the *fillings* of poorly made truffles and similar chocolates (I was tempted to say "cheap" chocolates, but we’ve observed this even in expensive but poorly crafted chocolates). There are indeed big differences in the milk chocolate quality, but corn syrup is also a valid discriminator.

          Windell H. Oskay

  2. But what do we fill it with?
    My husband is in to electronics, and mecatronics, and all those sorts of tronic things, but I for the life of me can barely tell a resistor from an LED!
    Can you give us a list of what sorts of goodies to put in there so that we can head down to the local FRYS/Radio Shack and pick them up??

    1. Id recommend a resistor assortment, capacitor assortment, led assortment, as many relays as you can carry, one of each IC, and a few potentiometers. add a breadboard and jumper cables, and you have an excellent analog assortment to make whatever you can dream up

      1. I’ve spent a lot of money and time at Radio Shack over the years, but the only thing I’d recommend there for stuffing a box like this is if they still sell assortments of various parts. Buying piecemeal to put a nice assortment together is $$$ too much at the Shack!

        The EMSL shop has a variety of LED assortments that could go nicely.

        Of course, you could also just browse around the EMSL shop and buy 1 or more of everything that looks interesting. Then remove items from your cart until you get down to your budget. :) (Notice that many items have a price break for buying multiples. Sometimes buying 10 is the same price as buying 3! The nature of little mass-produced pieces…)


  3. If you can get your hands on [lattice] card that matches the colours of the box, it will look even better!

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