Magnetic Minecraft Blocks

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About: I'm an inventor / maker / designer based in the Bay Area. My background is in residential architecture, film set design, animatronics, media arts, exhibit design, and electronics. I use digital design and fa...

Bring Minecraft into the real world with the Magnetic Minecraft Blocks. All you need is some wood, magnets, and sticky-back inkjet paper.

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Step 1: Tools & Materials

WOODEN BLOCKS:

  • Wood: I used some leftover oak from another project. The blocks are 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 1 1/2", so you can use anything that will let you cut those out.
    • For the drilling jig, I used some scrap plywood.
  • Saws: I used a table saw to cut down the 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" strips and a chop saw to cut out the 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" X 1 1/2" cubes. This could also be done by starting with a 2X2 and cutting the cubes with a hand saw and a miter box.
  • Drill: I used a drill press because it's much faster for doing multiple identical holes using a jig. You could also do this with a hand drill since the holes are really shallow.

MAGNETS

DECALS

Step 2: Photoshop Contact Sheets

To make the decals print at the right scale and easy to cut out, I used the Contact Sheet function in photoshop. First, you have to download a Texture Pack.

You can get the basic one here: http://www.6minecraft.net/faithful-texture-pack/

And here's some additional info on where the texture image files are found: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Tutorials/Custom_te...

In Photoshop, go to File > Automate > Contact Sheet II. This brings up the contact sheet dialog, which is where you specify the source folder of images, size of the sheet, number of rows and columns, and margins.

Making a 5X5 image grid, you would make a 7.5" X 7.5" sheet with 5 rows and 5 columns, and 0" margins to get 25 decals at 1.5" X 1.5". I decided to make mine slightly smaller to make up for inconsistencies in the size of the blocks and to avoid the edges pealing up, so I went with a 7.2" grid instead.

Having made multiple copies of the images in each folder (enough to get 25 images for each sheet), repeat the process for each Minecraft block.

Step 3: Making the Blocks

  1. Using a 2X2 strip, I set a block on the chop saw to make 1.5" cubes. This isn't ideal because the small blocks catch on the teeth and fly away, but it does the job quickly and no one's going to get hurt by a 1.5" cube
  2. In order to place the magnets centered on each face of multiple blocks, I made a jig. The blocks needed to fit snugly and be able to be repositioned quickly, so I placed a block on the base board and screwed in the larger side pieces so that it would hold the block. Then I added the 1.5" strip of plywood to make a consistent stopping edge.
  3. To mark the center of a face, I used a combination square to get diagonals from corners.
  4. At this point, all that's left is to carefully align the jig with the drill bit (I used a forstner bit) and clamp it down to the drill press bed. If it stays put, you should end up with a hole on center on every face of each block.
  5. I set the stops on the drill press so that I would get a 1/16" deep hole.

Step 4: Add Magnets and Decals

I decided to make the blocks either all sides negative or all sides positive. To keep track, I superglued in the magnets on the end of the stack on-by-one, using a sharpie mark on one end to keep track.
The decals stick pretty well to the wood, but it would probably be a good idea to use an acrylic coating on the blocks to keep them from getting peeled off.

Step 5:

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    12 Discussions

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    mrsmerwin

    2 years ago

    I have a magnetic puzzle which involves connecting 8 cubes to form one large cube. I think I can use your idea to make my own version. maybe with 27 small cubes. it would be difficult to solve but fun to make.

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    jaguary12783

    3 years ago

    minefrigde fridgecraft?

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    JON-A-TRONchriscam

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea! The connections might get a little complicated though- you wouldn't be able to stick every face to every face (though I suppose you can't really do that anyway with the magnets' polarity).

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    Phoenix Flare

    4 years ago

    Wow! So great! Looks very detailed, and looks like you put a lot of thought into them! Voted!

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    seamster

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great project! I had to chuckle at your comment about loading the magnets correctly. I've got a stack of magnets sitting right next to me.. and this is what they look like.

    IMG_5305.JPG
    5 replies
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    seamsterJON-A-TRON

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I've heard that if you hold one of these magnets next to the stripe on your credit card, the positive side will stick.

    I haven't tried this myself, though, so I can't confirm if this actually works or not.

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    seamsterJON-A-TRON

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Alright, alright. PLEASE, no one do that. It will ruin you card!

    On my stack of magnets, that X means "load magnets straight into bore from other side." So far, I've been successful at gluing them into my projects correctly (without repelling where I wanted them to attract... that would be a sad mistake to make!)