Intro: Laser Cut Low Tech Mood Tracker
This is a dead simple mood tracker, and the parts cost about $20. There's two containers, and they balance on a fulcrum. When you feel positive, you can put something in one container, and when you feel negative, you can put something in the other container. Depending on how the thing is leaning, you'll know how you've been feeling lately.
I use white beads to track my mood (happy/sad) and purple beads to track energy (motivated/fatigued). You can also use any objects that fit into the containers for tracking, and put in heavier objects for stronger feelings. These objects can be stored in the triangular fulcrum, behind a sliding piece of acrylic.
Sometimes I work really hard on lots of projects at once, and this mood tracker will help remind me to take care of myself and find balance.
The prices I got my materials for are in brackets.
- 2mm thick acrylic, at least 45 x 21 cm ($3 from my plastic store's offcuts bin)
- 1/8 inch plywood, at least 6 x 22 cm for the sides of the fulcrum, 41 x 21 cm for the facing, 44 x 21 cm for the backing (Four 12" x 12" squares for $2.99 each)
- 1/2 inch plywood, at least 42 x 19 cm (~$5)
* Make sure this is wood that can be cut by the laser cutter. Some woods are too dense. The people hosting the laser cutter will probably know what kind of wood is best.
- wood glue
- laser cutter
I use the laser cutter at the Noisebridge hacker space in San Francisco. If you live in a city, you can probably find one at your local hacker space, maker space, or fab lab.
Small note: My mood tracker has the divider inside the triangle sticking up over the plastic facing, but I've edited the cutting files so that the plastic and the divider are the same height.
Step 1: Understand the Build
The mood tracker has, from back to front:
- 1/8 inch plywood on the back of the triangular fulcrum piece and the two circular containers
- 1/2 inch plywood on the sides of the circular containers, for the bar connecting the two containers, and for the circle that the bar sits on
- 1/8 inch plywood on the sides of the triangular fulcrum piece
- 2mm thick clear acrylic for the front of the containers and the front of the fulcrum
- 1/8 inch plywood that acts as facing or trim for the front edges of the circular containers and the triangular fulcrum
The next steps will provide the files for cutting each of these parts.
Step 2: Cut the Back Panels From 1/8 Inch Plywood
Step 3: Cut the 1/2 Inch Plywood
Step 4: Cut the Sides of the Fulcrum Triangle From 1/8 Inch Plywood
Step 5: Cut the Acrylic
Step 6: Cut the Facing Trim From 1/8 Inch Plywood
Step 7: Assembly!
1. Glue the half inch thick round pieces onto the 1/8 inch thick circle backing. Make sure there is room for the bar, but do not glue the bar down. We will be moving the containers along the bar to balance the mood tracker after gluing.
2. Glue the half inch thick circle onto the 1/8 inch thick triangle. The bottom of the triangle should be 100.5 millimeters long. Mark the half way point on this side. The bottom edge of the circle should be glued 53mm above your marking.
3. Place the bar on the fulcrum and in the containers, but do not glue it down
4. For the fulcrum sides, glue and hold the 3 sides together until they stick. Be sure that they are oriented the right way. The large notches are for the bar, and the small notches are for the acrylic to sit in. Once the three sides stick to each other, you can glue them onto the triangle with the bar in place.
5. Glue the acrylic on the circles.
6. Glue the circular facing on the circles, and glue the triangular facing on the fulcrum.
7. Slide in the acrylic for the fulcrum piece.
Step 8: Drying
Let your project dry. It's not a bad idea to weigh it down, especially where the bar enters the container, which is the most fragile part. The first time I glued mine, the acrylic and facing for one container came off the moment I put it down on my bed. :(
Step 9: Balancing
After your project has dried, set it down so that the circles can move freely. Move the circles up and down to get a feel of which side is heavier. Move the circles along the bar until they are evenly balanced. Mark on the back of the bar where the edge of the circles are, and then put some glue on the bar to glue the circles in place. Let dry.
Step 10: Use
I have mine mounted on the wall with command line strips, which allow it to be removed without damaging the wall. You can use different colors or different types of objects to represent different dimensions of your mood. You can also use heavier objects to represent stronger moods.
Be careful with the sliding acrylic door - I actually need two hands to remove beads, to prevent some from falling out.
For me, the left container represents positive feelings, and the right container represents negative feelings. White beads stand for mood (happy or sad), and purple beads stand for energy (groggy or highly motivated). You can see that in the past few days I've been generally pretty happy, but also a little tired.
Hope you can use this to find balance in your life, too!