A Maker's Lunch Box

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Introduction: A Maker's Lunch Box

About: Hi! My name is Hans, I live in Scandinavia where I build whatever pops up in my head, out on to my sketchbook and finally into my hands. My projects here are my favorites and I hope some might inspire you. Rem…
It's no secret, I LOVE BOXES! I love to make them and I collect them. To me a box signals care, you've built a shell around something you want to protect. So in this project, I went all in to make my dream box build. I had a great time making this but as a reward, I really enjoy showing it to other people.

I've had people stop me and ask me what the hell is it! And I love seeing people being really curious but not wanting to ask, just stare…

So put simply, I wanted the outside to be as intriguing as the inside.

I hope this inspires more than wanting to replicate, you should definitely build your own dream box!

Supplies

…are optional, as you will see this box is unique and what I had at hand was used to create this maker's treasure chest.

Step 1: Sketch… Then Cut!

I made some rough sketches for this project, but I also wanted to see what would evolve along the build process. One goal though… beveled top!!! Also, I wanted to use as much leftover wood as possible:-)

I've been fascinated by the typical American lunchbox, I found several and had great fun reading up on the history of the treasured food storage case (www.smithsonianmag.com)

Step 2: Bevel Me!

As I pointed out, this box is all about the bevel! being my first attempt I had some spare wood to try out. Some thin popple made the cut. I ran it over the table saw multiple times, I knew I had to cut ridges to make it curve. I even added some water to soften the wood before starting the attaching. At each end, I had a pretty thick side panel for the bevel to attach to and rest while glue would dry.

I had measured twice so I was sure there was enough wood to go all the way. I cut off what was not needed, but as you can see I quickly added some wood putty:-)

I used small nails to hold the top in place, as an extra precaution I strapped it down as well.

Step 3: Put a Handle on It…

The bevel was pretty thin so to make sure my handle would not pull the top right off I added a split round stock. This enabled me to have a good base for the handle.

I had some bamboo left over, it was perfect for a nice smooth grip. I bent two pieces of solid metal rod where I had previously welded screws to both sides. Now I could use the bamboo as a connector and hold the metal in one place. This solution turned out to be rock bamboo solid:-)

Step 4: Inventing Along the Way…

Creating the different box parts meant I needed to make a jig to hold the sides in place while gluing. A big round wood slab, from an old washing contraption (squeezing the water out), made for a great corner fit. So using a tightening rope I had made myself a very flexible glue jig.

Step 5: Let Glue Dry!!!

I wise maker once said (ok she's said it hundreds of times), but I always have a hard time being patient. With this build, though I had so many parts going parallel most of the time I was able to hold off. I knew I wanted to make this box strong so it could be with me on the road.

Step 6: Projector Made in the USSR

Yup, I got this from a flea market in Poland! It's a real beauty, rock-solid. I wanted this to be the centerpiece inside. The lift is from an IKEA lid rack, I modified it a little.

I swapped out the old lighting in the slide projector with a 12v led, but still, the front lens was missing the slide switcher… 3D print to the rescue, but as you can see I did not measure twice this time😂

I ended up cutting the piece of PLA in two and with quick epoxy and metal studs, I got the right size. I had printed transparencies in the inkjet printer with different graphics related to my maker philosophy…

Step 7: Done… No Mister, Not by a …

BUT it had grown to show the basic shape. I could finally add some simple locks and for the lid, I used a piano hinge. Next, I started to install the led strip that would light up as I opened the box.

And not to forget the pen holder on the right side:-)

Step 8: Is It the Inside That Counts…

What to do with all this space? I gave myself some time to try out different arrangements for the inside organization. Luckily I left it alone for a while to focus on more fun issues.

Step 9: An Over Weight Lunch Box…

The size is a bit challenging, when full of different projects, it weighs a decent amount. That's why I added shoulder straps. But still, you don't want to carry this for hours.

Step 10: Refining the Inside

I gave the top tray a color treatment so it would be easier to differentiate the compartments. This top tray could be lifted out and underneath you'd find two more trays and a mini slide projector. And not to forget the 12v battery, a voltmeter, a USB connector, and a mono speaker. I wanted the wiring to be visible so all my ideas and work could be seen for others to ask and laugh:-)

Step 11: Details to Wrap It Up…

The stamp bonanza could begin along with all the other visual goodies. I love how I could just add pieces that had no specific meaning but would add to the mystery and confusion surrounding this box.

The compass is one of my favorites, it signals some kind of greater travel and a long voyage ahead…

Step 12: One More Thing…

Thanks for taking this time to get inside my boxed-up world! Hopefully, I've made you want to build more boxes. As you understand the purpose of this box is the box itself, I bring it where ever possible and continue to enjoy seeing others light up in pure lunchbox engagement.

One more thing, if you have paid close attention you will have noticed there is a "secret compartment" If you can identify it I will reveal what's inside, but till someone does it will stay a secret:-)

If you enjoyed this Instructable please follow along over at my Instagram: @smogdog for more builds… & boxes

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    27 Comments

    0
    charlessenf-gm
    charlessenf-gm

    3 months ago

    One way to handle that curved top piece would be to rabbit a portion of the inside of each side piece (the thickness of your top piece) and cut your top piece to fit nicely between the two sides but overlap the wood on the front and rear a bit where you wanted the bevel. use flexible straps to hold the top in place overnight (really let the glue set up!) and trim the front and rear with a hand saw and plane to fit the beveled pieces.

    I believe they call them 'strap clamps' where I come from. Sometimes measuring gets one into difficulty and sometimes too big and trim to fit makes for an easier assembly.

    Ooops! I see you have a 'tightening' strap clamp! (and know how to use it.) Pardon me for focusing on a fix.

    0
    Oberrw
    Oberrw

    12 months ago

    Like the build. Just an FYI, the "an old washing contraption (squeezing the water out)" is/was called "a wringer washing machine" the "contraption" is the wringer portion.

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks for the info, I will up date my description:-) a Norwegian trying his best! 😀

    0
    ruudcreates
    ruudcreates

    11 months ago

    That's one hell of an awesome box!!! I love objects which (seem to) tell a story, and this one clearly tells one.
    Gave you a follow on instagram, can't wait to see more of these kind of unique projects. :D

    0
    ruudcreates
    ruudcreates

    Reply 11 months ago

    One more thing. Just looked around your other Instructables as well and you have a fan. Your boxes are amazing and inspiring. Working on a project which needs a box, hope to get it somewhere close to the magic you add to them.

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 11 months ago

    Thanks again :-)
    Looking forward to seeing your box obsession grow, let me know when your next box is out! Really liked your wedding guest box book 😀

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 11 months ago

    Hey, thank you so much!!! You’re doing great stuff as well! Thanks for noticing the storytelling aspect of my builds:-)

    0
    threeoutside
    threeoutside

    1 year ago

    Really cool but I would love a detailed tour of the box and its outside features as well!

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    I get your point, when I show it to people they are really into all the details and seeing it being opened and all the extra stuff brings out many smiles. There is a switch for turing the lid light on, it has a speaker and volume button where it plays shop sounds… So, yes your comment made me want to do a makers lunch box tour:-D
    Cheers
    Hans g

    0
    mlaiuppa.
    mlaiuppa.

    1 year ago

    Is the secret compartment a slide under the pencil holder?

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yup! But on the opposite side:-) It's where I store my battery power ear cleaner… Version 1 and 2, three is in the making!
    Cheers
    Hg

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    :-D
    Thanks!!!
    Hg

    0
    1-big-dog
    1-big-dog

    1 year ago

    Your video making skills are quite awesome, not to mention your wood working skills!

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so much, as you can tell I really enjoy both:-) Hope to do more in the coming months!
    Cheers
    Hans g

    0
    TreborEcurb
    TreborEcurb

    1 year ago

    I loved your "lunchbox"! What sorts of things to you store in the drawer? (Your actual lunch perhaps?) I would like to see an addendum that details how you built the drawer. (Is the drawer the "secret compartment"?)

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you! I could store my lunch in that drawer, but I have my electric ear cleaner stached away there:-D Yup, I made a battery power ear cleaner…
    Since a few others have asked for a little more detail I will make an update very soon!
    Cheers
    Hans g

    0
    sthunter66
    sthunter66

    1 year ago

    I love this box! I had this goofy grin on my face the whole time as I read the entire instructable! I am lit when art, infinity and gifting meet and that’s what this box represents to me. “Seriously, don’t take me too seriously”! Hood luck with the contest and I hope you win. You already are a winner to me.

    0
    smogdog
    smogdog

    Reply 1 year ago

    Oh, this is such nice feedback. You are spot-on in how I view the creative process. I once made a statement (being a cocky 20-something:-) "if you take yourself too serious, it's because nobody else does" and I still feel that way!
    Being a finalist in the box challenge is already a win for me, so thank you for the good luck wishes!
    Cheers
    Hans g

    0
    janetplanetzz
    janetplanetzz

    1 year ago

    Hi! New to this site. Your Maker Lunch Box is wonderful. BRAVO! You truly are a great craftman.

    I have been looking for a camping box this size, yet with a flat top to work on, to keep kitchen stove, supplies and such. How heavy would you say your box is? I was looking at lighter materials, if need be. I've also been looking for a 50s flat suitcase in thrift-stores.