Introduction: Mini Man Multiverse for the Laser

Thoughts of missing Burning Man led me along a strange path, one might even say I fell down a rabbit hole. Virtual is amazing, but I desire something not made of pixels. I have now found myself creating a Mini Man event in approx. HO model train scale size (1:87 scale). I finished the Man Base (inspired by this years design by Kate Greenberg). But, it wasn't enough, making a Mini Man just for myself. So, I created this Instructables so you can make one too.

Step 1: Equipment/Materials

  • A program like Inkscape (link for Inkscape)
  • A laser cutter (I am using a Glowforge)
  • 1/8" wood sheets for the laser cutter
  • 1/4" clear acrylic sheet (optional)
  • Inkjet printer that can accept 80 lb card stock
  • 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 cream paper - 80 lb card stock (link for paper)
  • 2x - 12" piece of cardboard (can be from an old shipping box)
  • Toothpicks
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife with sharp blade
  • Ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • White glue (link for what I recommend)
  • LED lights (optional, link for lights)
  • CR2032 batteries (optional, link for batteries)

Step 2: Assembling the 4 Arch Tunnels

There is a VERY thin strip that needs to be removed BEFORE gluing all arches, backs and fronts.

Once that thin strip is removed, glue the cut-out detailed archway to a solid archway as shown in the photo. There will be a total 4, all for the front entryways.

KEEP the little pieces that are left over after cutting out the detailed arch pieces, these are for a future step.

Step 3: Assembling the 4 Arch Tunnels Cont.

Follow the steps in the photo for gluing. You are gluing one decorative arch to the front and one plain arch to the back.

Print 2 sheets of the 'tunnels' on an inkjet printer that can accept 80lb card stock. The printed paper tunnels fit/set into the little cut grooves.

Glue all 4 archways and tunnels. Glue one side, let it dry completely, flip it over and glue the other side. Place some glue on a paper plate or something similar. Have a toothpick handy, load the toothpick up with glue, this makes for an easier process.

Step 4: Assembling the Top Tiers

Remember those pieces I asked you to save earlier? You will need a total of 16 glued stacks, each stack will be 3 pieces tall. There will be 4 of these little stacks glued under each base piece.

Step 5: Assembling the Top Tiers Continued...

Glue 4 of the individual stacks we made earlier under each of the 4 upper tiers as shown. Then glue all the stacks together. Make sure the slots are all lined up on the top 3 tiers, the Man slides into those slots. If you plan on changing out the Man to different designs, don't glue it in place.

Step 6: The Lowest Base Piece

Cut out 2 slotted bases (with the 4 slots) on the laser, use cardboard, these are hidden so you don't have to use wood.

Glue those 2 cardboard pieces together, make sure the slots all line up BEFORE gluing together.

On the solid top wood base, when using the laser, use a setting like 'score' for the design, don't cut the design, just cut the outer circle.

Now glue the wood base to the top of the cardboard base. Place something heavy on it while drying, like a book. Hey look! It's the Jewelry of Burning Man book, I think I am in that book! ;-)

Step 7: The Man

You have a few different Man designs to pick from. For the 1/8" wood pieces, print 2 and glue them back to back. The acrylic Man uses 1/4" thick acrylic and you only need to print one. You can add optional LED lights and batteries to the acrylic version.

I used a combination of score and cut settings on the laser for these.

Step 8: Finished!

Once the top tier is all glued together, the back of the 4 arch tunnels settle into the 4 notches (on the very bottom of the cardboard circles). You can glue the top tier to the 4 arches, or leave them unglued, your choice. Now add some colored lights and go get lost in a wonderful dust storm!

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