Step 2: Building the Box

You need to build a basic box to contain the mechanics of this project. I originally made mine to be about the size of a sheet of A4 paper, as I was going to print out the Ouija top and glue it on. That also worked with fitting in my proposed mechanical setup size wise. I made the box deeper than needed for the mechanics as I wanted it to seem like a piece of furniture rather than a 'board'. The box has plenty of empty space - room for other features you may want to add, like batteries, a sound chip, or a 'knocker' device (something I started to do but didn't get to finish in time for this year)...

Remember, as I said before, make this step count so you don't have to do what I did and veneer it to hide the dodgy sides...
<p>Thanks for this. I'm considering making one. People will obviously assume that there are mechanisms inside the box. To make it more mysterious, I'm thinking I might buy an actual Ouija Board (from Hasbro) and make it the top of the box, and sink the box into a hole cut in the top of a table with a table cloth on it. Embed a magnet in the cheap plastic planchette. Now it'll just look like a kid's Ouija Board, sitting on a table, but it'll actually work! I could put it on my front porch with a hidden mic so that I can hear people asking it questions, and type answers into my computer. Should be good for freaking some people out!</p>
Yep, that would be a great way to do it. I am planning on a new one this year, challenging myself to make it as thin as possible and to reach every letter and have the bluetooth receiver from the start.<br><br>I will put it up here again, but last time the write up took positively ages, so I doubt it will be up in time for halloween :)
How did you machine the aluminum clamp that holds the magnet? Or did you buy it?
<p>How much would it cost me for one that connects to a PC and with all the enhancements you completed so far Estimate shipping to Michigan USA</p>
Just saying this is a Fuji board and planchette. Don't want to get sued.
sir /mam; may i ask for specifications and prize for ur pulleys with diff sizes?thank you very much
you have great talent at what you build,but I wont build something like that,even though it aint real,the board itself.
This is an amazingly well written Instructable! Love it!
Wow, Jacob! This is a dazzling piece of invention. Apart from the incredible work you've done on the mechanical aspects, you've clearly thought out the 'psychic' aspect very well indeed!<br><br>The pauses, the path the marker makes... very effective in showing that there's a ghost going to extraordinary effort to make that damn thing move! Must be super-freaky to experience!<br><br>One piece of 'authenticity' your device has built in is the inability to reach certain letters. Kinda like there's a ghost that can't really spell. Maybe you could put in a 'frustration' loop when it's supposed to hit an 'l' or 'm' or whatever? Something like an agitated motion going to the pentagram, then back to the regular spelling out of the rest of the letters?<br><br>Great work!<br><br>Blue skies<br>Roy
If you watch the action of the puck, the builder has incorporated reverse correction so that it does end up pointing at the correct letter. The device is limited by the path of the drive belt. If it were built as an x/y plotter unit instead, then the extra movements that you suggest would be more easily implemented. <br> <br>I like the way it is now, vaguely shuffling round--definitely enough to freak out a few idiots!
does it make a loud racket?
This is a great project. Lots of potential for add-ons. Pics are great too. I'm one of the peeps who need to see something to get how it works. I like that the electronics could be used for a robot until Halloween. Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed reading this.
would be better if you built it into a table and made it not look as thick. maybe just 1/2 inch above the table and the rest built in under the surface of the table, great idea.
That is true, it does not look like a &quot;real&quot; ouija board which usually are a cardboard sheet (like a monopoly game board). <br><br>I wanted to make a transportable prop though, so making it into a desk would have not been very easy to to. For fun, a version could be made with much more powerful magnets and the base unit attached under any desk, but again I had to make do with the magnets I had at hand (broken chips of HDD magnets).<br><br>My plan was to make it look like a seperate piece of victorian furniture, but did make it deeper (chunkier) than it needed to be - it could easily be 1/2 the height ot less and still fit everything in.<br><br>Thanks for the comment!
something that fits under the table would be great, I never thought of that.<br>then use a regular board. I would love to see that.
Just to keep you all updated - the board is still alive and kicking - or dead and writing 3 years on. Usually it is left in random mode, as in the usual halloween part environment no-one will really stand and see if the board is spelling out a message. <br><br>The message capability will be of more use for halloween games (spelling out clues) or a haunted house type of display/feature.<br><br>3 years on and I still am pretty happy with the project!
I love it! You just need to get the noise factor down so that dweebs who really have no f'g idea about this stuff have the $%^&amp; scared out of them!
I really should add a new video. The noise factor was fixed after the video on here was tasken - there was sawdust in the stepper motor gear drive. Once cleaned up it runs quietly. The only sound with the lid off you can hear is the felt of the planchette dragging about - which makes people look for the source of the sound if they haven't seen the ouija board yet!<br><br>Cheers!
do you have an overall picture of the setup? i will be making a chess board with my arduino someday soon :)
Very well done.
I am wanting to make one and yours looks all complicated ans stuff. I had the idea to either use an etcha sketch or similar setup. you could replace the knobs with motors and set it doun in the bottom of the box with a raised shaft wiht a magnet. it would be able to reach all the letters and you could increase the speed. just a thought
It's getting to that time of year, and this project seems to be getting a bit of attention again. If you have any questions, best ask them here in the comments section for everyone to see. Anyone need further info, let me know and I'll add/update the instructable. Cheers Jacob
Jacob, I checked this out last year (still haven't built one though) and thought it was great. With your recent improvements, it is even better. Not sure if you realized it, but you can buy a bluetooth serial converter for $20 on eBay. I have one and they are super easy to use. You just gotta add a bluetooth connection for the full effect. The only other improvements I could think of would be voice recognition software and maybe some simple AI with "personalities" to really get the full effect. If "Alice" chatbots weren't so verbose, that might be an easy way to do it. I don't think people are going to be able to follow the puck for more than a 3 or 4 word sentence without losing interest. I know; always easier said than done. Just wanted to hound you to try it. :)
Nice one! I'll dig about a bit and try to get one. Sounds like an accomplice would be easier than AI and voice recognition... that would be another big project on its own :) Thanks for the comment! Cheers Jacob
Well, unless you can find something "prepackaged" for the AI and voice recognition, I agree that it wouldn't be worth it. But there are quite a few pieces of software out there that you could experiment with. I think (but I am not 100% certain) that "Alice" is actually configurable enough that you might be able to make it less robust. The neat thing about it being somewhat AI based is that after your initial personality set up, the responses should be a little unpredictable even for you. You just might get goosebumps yourself wondering if 'something else' is guiding it. Just saying it might be worth experimenting a little and seeing what's out there.
Haha- I have just been &quot;talking&quot; with Alice. Wow things have come a fairly long way since I had &quot;Eliza&quot; on the system80 :).<br/><br/>I will have a play with the software soon. For those interested, you can chat with alice here: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk?botid=f5d922d97e345aa1">http://www.pandorabots.com/pandora/talk?botid=f5d922d97e345aa1</a><br/><br/>Cheers<br/>
Sorry, I meant "..less verbose" not "...less robust."
This project should really go down in history - it has to be fairly unique amongst output devices.
seems hard to build. i would add it to a huanted house, but for my own i do every year it seems like too much work, and people wouldn't wait around to see it. awsome instructable thoe.
That is why I stick to 1 project per year for halloween stuff. Make 1 good thing a year, and over the years you will have quite a few items. Yes it was 'hard to build' in a way, but was very satisfying. There is no reason it needs to be as hard as the way I made it though :) Thanks for the comment!
What is the CD audio input for? did you add a speaker? Nice job on the instructable... and the updates
I recycled a CD cable - it isn't an audio input, it was used to make a serial connector for the laptop. cheers
Hey there! If you are leaving a rating for this, could you also please leave a comment? Let me know what is good/bad/whatever... Thanks! and thanks for looking at my instructable!
Heh! I should add that the motor is not noisy anymore... It is quite quiet. The sound of the felt sliding on the wood is the loudest noise it makes....
gorgeous and scary. just put it in a room with loud music to hide the noise of the motors. impressive.
ooh, and I am the 13th rater and you have 13 steps. now I am creeped out. I'd better stay inside today.
Very beautiful AND technological. The pentacle is an excellent touch ;-).
Video is uploaded now of finished system with serial communications ability. Still to come is the code and schematics for the revised version. The code has some useful snippets for handling serial communciations interrupts which was something new I learned while building this project....
As promised, I have updated with step 12. Video link still to come. Cheers
Finally the serial comms version of the firmware is done. I will update tonight with a new step covering this!
Hi people - I have now updated the code to spell out messages. A video will be added in the next day or so- and I have the serial communication software underway. When that is complete I will be adding a new step covering these modifications...
As an update: I have now modified the hardware a bit to allow a serial connection for messages - I am going to bed now - so the code will be done in the next few days. When done, I will put up some new video, and add a new step or two with the modifications. Cheers
Would you consider submitting this to the Mashup contest? {https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Enter-the-Instructables-and-ReadyMade-Mash-/?utm_source=ads&amp;utm_medium=adspot_mashup?ALLSTEPS}<br/>
Thanks for the suggestion, but there are two reasons why I didn't enter the mashup competition.... 1st one is that I have already entered this one in the laser cutter competition (don't want to be greedy :). The second reason is that the conditions say it is only eligible for American/Canadian residents (and I am from Australia!)....
Very cool, tho if you could control the messages on the fly it would make for an extremely awesome project. Maybe use the serial port (or usb to serial) of a laptop hidden in the bottom of the board to send x,y coordinates to the plotter and use a cell phone with bluetooth to send each letter to the laptop...bit complicated but a program on the computer and a java program on the cell phone should do it. Perhaps there is a easier way tho. Very nice board tho, very sharp and spooky!
Should be possible to connect the spare UART to one of those cheapish bluetooth serial modules ... I bet the uC has enough oomph to convert letters to coordinates. Then you could just send messages directly to the box from the cell phone applet (or wherever). Spooooky!
I have finally found the schematics and PCB (trauma from changing PCs - luckily I had a backup ghost image I could trawl through to find it). Now you have everything I had to do this project. I have not made much progress yet with the message update - I have been busy lately and I need to re-open the box to make the changes... it still hasn't spent much of it's life put together, and I am loathe to pull it apart :). I have a weekend coming up, so should be done soon! Thanks again for the nice comments everyone!
Wow, you should be proud- Very cool
This is great. I don't have much to add, but I really like the detailing.

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Bio: Like making things. Like breaking things (to see how they work). Lost many a great toy in my youth to curiosity. Now I feel more ... More »
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