Make a Stand for My Infinity Cube

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Introduction: Make a Stand for My Infinity Cube

When I made my infinity cube, the stand that I built for it wasn't quite how I wanted it. For one thing, to me it looks a bit disproportionately small. Another reason I decided to rebuild it was because the touch buttons didn't work as well as I hoped that they would. The new design is be a bit bigger, and has proper touch sensors for the buttons.

This new, updated stand is a bit more like I originally wanted it to be, but not completely. Think of this Instructable as a starting point for some concepts that you can improve on. And please leave a comment with any feedback or questions you have.

You can also watch a video version of this Instructable here: https://youtu.be/wTs42WbLBGg

Step 1: Planning the Design

The pictures with this step show the cutout of the pillars in 3 different stages. One thing to keep in mind when making your design is the place where the cube will be resting against each pillar. That angle needs to be cut at is 30 degrees from the inner edge. The other angle for the top of the pillars is just a decorative choice.

Another thing to keep in mind is the middle section where the Arduino will be placed. From my experience, this should be 1/2" or more. I made it about 5/8" for my build.

And finally, the corners need to be cut/carved at the correct angle so that the 3 pillars join together well. An easy way to get the angle correct for this is to measure the inner side and the adjacent side. The inner measurement needs to be double of what the adjacent measurement is. In the pictures here I have shown that I marked 5/16" (8mm) for the inner measurement and 5/32" (4mm) for the adjacent measurement.

Step 2: Cutting and Sanding the Shapes

I cut the pieces for the pillars then taped them together. After this I sanded these surfaces to get each piece to be uniform with each other.

Next I used a carving bit in my Dremel to carve the corner angles down to near the marks I made. After carving these angles, I sanded them down to the marks so that they are flat and smooth. I held them together just to make sure the surfaces are aligned well.

Step 3: Making Room for the Touch Sensor

Now it's time to work on the feet. In the center of what will be the front of each foot I drill a 1/16" hole roughly half way through the piece. Then on the top of the foot, the part that will be glued to the pillar, I drilled a pilot hole with the same 1/16" drill bit, again drilling it about half way through the foot.

The main hole in the foot needs to be bigger than the touch sensor that's being used. For the parts that I'm using 1/2" is good. This hole needs to be drilled in the top (not the front) of the foot and needs to intersect the smaller hole of the front.

Step 4: About the Touch Sensor Connections

There are many different touch sensors available, so I'll be showing the connections that I used for mine. Other touch sensors may or may not be similar.

The GND connection will go to the ground pin of the Arduino. VCC can go to 5 volts or 3.3 volts on the Arduino. I connected these to 3.3 volts. I/O will go to one of the data pins on the Arduino. Since my stand is using 3 of these touch sensors, each of these I/O connections go to separate data pins.

I added wires to these first 3 connections before moving on to the next step.

If you're using the touch sensor as the switch directly, these are all of the connections you'll need. For my project, I used an external touch point (a thumbtack) so I added an extension wire to another solder pad. The picture I have here with the blue wire next to the touch sensor board shows the solder pad that I soldered the extension wires to.

When I made the stand, I did this step earlier than I should have. The wires ended up getting in the way during another step. I'll add a note in this instructable where I would recommend doing this step. (Watch for ***)

I passed a 22 gauge wire through the small hole in the front of the foot and out the top. This is the touch sensor extension wire I mentioned in the previous step. I trimmed it down, stripped the end, and soldered this wire to the touch sensor. (One of the pictures in the previous step and one in this step shows which solder pad I connected this wire to.)

Next I push the touch sensor into the foot, which allows me to pull the extension wire out of the front a little bit. Now I can solder a thumbtack to this wire. I push the wire and the thumbtack into the foot, just for a demonstration picture to show here. You will want to leave this pulled out until the end of the project when you're done working on the foot.

Step 6: Attaching the Foot to the Pillar

Before gluing the foot to the pillar, drill a hole from the bottom of the pillar to the inner edge of the pillar. This hole is where the wires for the touch sensor will go through. Use the same size of bit that you used in the foot.

Now you can glue the foot to the pillar. Try to align the holes of each. It should be fine if the alignment isn't completely perfect.

After the glue dried, I used my Dremel to carve away the extending wood behind the foot, then I sanded it smooth.

This step may be optional for this project since this stand won't be holding much weight.

Using the 1/16" drill bit, drill a couple holes between the pillar and the foot. The first picture for this step demonstrates the general position and angle for these holes.

Cut a piece of 16 gauge wire and push it into these holes. Try to cut the wire a little bit shorter than the hole is deep, if possible. This will let you push the wire just below the surface of the wood. If the wire is a bit long, you can file it to be flush with the surface of the wood.

Step 8: Making Room for the Arduino

In this step, I made a slot in the pillars for the Arduino to be placed in. I held the Arduino in position and marked the upper edge of where the slot will be. For the sides of the slot I just marked those by hand since the width isn't as critical.

Using my Dremel again, I carved out the slot. This is where the wires for the touch sensors got in the way. I was still able to carve out the slot, I just had to be careful.

Another thing that I could have done differently is this; Only 2 of the slots are needed to hold the Arduino. The 3rd slot can be much bigger and longer. This would actually help give you more space to put the wires when doing the final assembly.

Step 9: Marking the Top Contact Points

The top contact points are where the Infinity Cube attaches to the stand and gets its power and signal. In order to know exactly where the contact points need to be placed, I glued the pillars together. I only used a little bit of glue since it's a temporary hold. (The touch sensor wires were in the way again.)

After the temporary glue set (I only let it set enough to work with it) I needed to mark where the contact points will be. For this process, some type of transfer medium needs to be put on the contact points of the cube. Some people use lipstick, but since I had wood glue handy I used that.

Place the cube in position on the stand and wiggle it around slightly. This will apply the transfer medium onto the stand where they contact. After removing the cube I use a pen on these marks, then I separate the pillars apart from each other.

Step 10: Adding the Top Contact Points

I drill 2 holes into each pillar. One from the mark I just made and another from the inner edge of the pillar to join the first hole. Make sure these holes only go partially through the wood and make sure they join. I use a drill bit that's smaller than the thumbtack, then countersunk the top hole with a bit that's slightly larger than the thumbtack.

When assembling the wire for these contact points, you want a disk magnet on the back side of the thumbtack. A second magnet can be used on the outside of the thumbtack later if it's needed.

Solder the thumbtack to the wire, then put the magnet onto the wire and thumbtack. I recommend positioning the magnets so that they repel each other, then I glued the thumbtacks into place.

Step 11: *** Recommended Step for Adding the Touch Sensor

When I made the stand, I did this step earlier than I should have. The wires ended up getting in the way during another step. This is the place in this instructable where I would recommend doing this step.

I passed a 22 gauge wire through the small hole in the front of the foot and out the top. This is the touch sensor extension wire I mentioned in a previous step. I trimmed it down, stripped the end, and soldered this wire to the touch sensor. (One of the pictures in a previous step and one in this step shows which solder pad I connected this wire to.) Next I push the touch sensor into the foot, which allows me to pull the extension wire out of the front a little bit. Now I can solder a thumbtack to this wire. I push the wire and the thumbtack into the foot, just for a demonstration picture to show here. You will want to leave this pulled out until the end of the project when you're done working on the foot.

Step 12: Carving the Decorative Designs

For my stand, I wanted to have some decorations carved into the pillars. I decided to have some basic designs, and I used files to make them. I started with a triangle shaped file, then used a round file to make the carved design a bit wider.

For the joint between the foot and the pillar, I added wood filler and let that dry. Then after sanding that smooth, I filed the joint using the same process as the other filed designs. This worked well to help disguise the actual joint.

Step 13: Painting the Carved Designs

The next thing I did was to mask off the wood, leaving only the carved designs exposed. After painting it and letting the paint dry, I removed the masking tape and sanded away the painted flaws.

Step 14: Wiring Up the Arduino

Next I soldered the wires to the Arduino. For the power wires I have extension wires pre-soldered to the Arduino and just soldered the power wires from the pillars and touch sensors to those. The pictures in this step include info on these connections.

After soldering all of the wires, I added heat shrink to exposed connections of the extension wires.

Step 15: Assembling the Pillars Together

Now is the fun part (not really). It's time to tuck the Arduino into its 2 permanent slots and also tuck the wires into their slot. It can be a bit tricky holding this together while it sets, especially if you don't make the slot for the wires bigger than the slots for the Arduino.

After the glue dried, I wiped some wood oil onto the wood, then wiped off the excess.

I test fit the cube and realize that some of the contact points are countersunk a little bit too deep. When this happens you can add another magnet to the outside of the thumbtack. Just use a little bit of glue on the edge of the magnet and NOT between the magnet and the thumbtack.

Step 16: *** IMPORTANT *** Design Change for My Infinity Cube

When I first made the cube, there was one thing I didn't consider until it became an issue for me. I'm adding this step to this Instructable since it's very important. *** DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP ***

Since I used a metal tape for decorating the cube, that tape will conduct electricity. It's only 5 volts in my project, so not enough to be a shocking hazard. The issue I had was shorting out the circuit. This can happen because the tape crosses over the corner edges of the cube. When making your design, take this into consideration. Either design it so that the metal tape (if you use metal tape) only stays on one side of the cube, or you could add a coating to the tape. Something like clear fingernail polish should even work. Since my cube was already completed and I like the look of my design, I went another route.

Since I had continuity between different sides of the cube because of the tape, I needed to break that continuity. I filed the tape away, just at the corner edges. You can see from the pictures I included with this step that I only filed away enough to break that connection between the different sides. Filing directly on the corner helped me keep the change in appearance minimal and almost completely unnoticeable.

Step 17: Stabilizing the Cube

At this point it's possible that the contact points of the stand are holding the cube slightly away from the stand, making it wobble. My solution was to add a small drop of wood glue at a top corner of the stand. Once that dries it can be filed down as needed.

Step 18: And That's It!

And that's how I built the stand for my Infinity Cube! Now I'll briefly describe the functions that I currently have programmed into the Arduino.

After the cube goes through its startup lighting sequence, the lights turn off. The front touch button toggles the lights on and off. When the lights are on, one of the other buttons will cycle back and forth between a light fading pattern and a random flashing pattern. The other button switches from the current pattern to a color changing pattern. When it's in the color changing pattern, touch that button again to go back to the previous pattern with the current color.

If there are any other patterns or functions that you would like to see with this, please let me know! Here is a link to my GitHub page where I have the code that I made for this available to download: https://github.com/HowDoYouDIY/InfinityCube

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