[Photograph of Neil Fraser]

Neil Fraser

For the past decade I've been a software engineer at Google in California.  In my spare time I've created a mélange of open-source software.  I've also built some rather unusual hardware.  On rare occasions I've even been known to write something interesting.

Woodworking Monday, 9 September 2019

Three small woodworking projects:

1. Dragon Ball

When we met Sierra's parents in Vietnam, they gave us this beautiful crystal with a laser engraved dragon.

The plastic stand it came with didn't do it justice, so I built a new one out of stacked plywood rings. It is sized to accept a remote-controlled colour LED lamp.

The lamp really shows off the dragon. And the buttons on the remote control keep our daughter busy.

2. Laser Maze

Laser Maze Jr is a great little logic game that involves placing mirrors on a grid to route a laser beam around obstacles. The set I got from a garage sale was missing one of the mirrors, so I designed and laser-cut a new one.

Most of the parts are 3mm plywood, two parts are 2mm plastic, and the mirror was cut and ground from an old cosmetics kit. Once glued together and painted, it's a reasonable match to the original mirrors.

Lasers are fun.

3. Magnet Tiles

Manve Magnetic Tiles are a fun toy that enables construction of towers, bridges, icosahedra, and other shapes. The only negative is that the box is poorly designed and requires a packing arrangement that's impossible for a three year old.

Since I want Beverly to clean up after herself, I designed a holder for her 80 magnetic tiles. In order to be as lightweight as possible, the two square columns are hollow.

I think it worked; Beverly likes putting the tiles away almost as much as playing with them.

As always, I'm thankful to be able to use Google's workshops for personal projects.


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