Introduction: How to Give Your Boss a Gift Theatrically

About: Hi, we're Dara and Nash. Industrial designers, tinkers, and mayhem builders. Follow our travels.

The other day my boss asked me to print him out a larger version of a Thor Hammer found on Thingiverse, specifically: We have a small version at the Front Desk of our shop, and he wanted a larger one to show off our new 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator!

The same day, a few of the "usual suspects" around our shop decided to make a copy of the shell of our brand new Replicator, but managed to break a piece, specifically the front one.

Upon seeing this, and thinking about the amazingness that is Mjolnir, I came up with the idea to add a little drama to the process of giving the printed hammer to my boss.

What do you do when given a broken shell of an awesome machine and a printed hammer of destruction and creation? You make a semi-elaborate display of mayhem (read: prank) through the cunning use of the old switcheroo and attention paying.

Step 1: Planning

The usual first step in any great prank is having a person in mind and having an object/situation/event that you want to happen.

Target: My Boss
Object: Hammer/3D Printer
Event/Situation: Seeing a broken expensive machine due to a half-oz plastic hammer and having a feeling of shock and confusion.

Things you'll need in this instance:
3D Printer
Laser Cutter
Scrap wood, metal, electronics

Step 2: Set the Stage

Setting the stage is one of the most important events of any theatrical display. You'll see theaters spend a lot of time and money setting the stage for long productions that could be a weekend or a few weeks.

This stage took about half an hour to set with a few distractions.

In the pictures listed below, you can see how an empty shell with one part that the people who cut it didn't like (there's a couple larger holes than the cutter meant to remove from the front panel that they forgot to). Many of MakerBot's printers are made of laser-cut panels held together in several ways. These guys wanted to print out a shell to see how hard it was and if they can build one of their own. I asked to borrow their shell for this and it is now safely back in their hands.

Adding a few breaks to the front panel, taking a few pieces of laser-cut scrap from the recycling bin, and some bits of threaded rod, stepper motors and electronic pieces from junk piles...and you get something that looks like a large hammer violently collided with a piece of equipment...if you don't take a long look at it.

One unintentional benefit of the printed hammer is that it balances very well on its edge as shown in several pictures, and akin to how it looks in the movie.

The last three pictures are before/after shots of the "stage."

Step 3: Hide the Evidence

Since you can't have the original machine visible, it will have to disappear...temporarily.  Ours disappeared to the print room where no one walks often, or looks too hard at what's on the floor. A little camouflage helped to hide it from prying eyes.

Step 4: Wait.

This, the final step, requires very little effort aside from keeping oneself from grinning when you look at the switched object.