Quit Smoking Emergency Box




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I seem to have inheirited one of my wife's coworker friends.  You know, the old coot retired kind. He is like family though and somehow I'm supposed to keep an eye on him. Of course, you know you are on speed dial for tech support when they figure out you know something about computers. Like a bad habit, you just can't say No. Which brings us to this.  Let's say "Grandpa", used in a most reverent way, had his computer crash last week.  You get some urgent calls and voicemails.  You return the calls and try to troubleshoot over the phone.  No picture on screen and no sounds from the computer. Luckily he has a spare computer given to him by a relative when they cleaned out their office. He manages to get that one plugged in and fired up.  All kinds of messages start popping up and he starts deleting things. Computer is getting slower and hangs. (This is a true story, by the way)   Well, I am forced to make a housecall since Caitlin said he sounded so sad without his computer.  Caitlin suggested, why doesn't he just get an ipad?  Well, grandpa did just learn to skype and videochat with his grandkids.

Anyway, we meet for lunch and go grab the two computers to fix.  He's gonna need to go cold turkey on the penny stocks for a few days. I just finished fixing the original machine by replacing the power supply and wiped the other one to rebuild a Windows machine. The original machine was all caked with dust and a brown nicotine coating which I surmised had siezed the cooling fans and overheated the machine into submission.(didn't take pictures, but the horror, someone should put up a forum topic with the dirtiest computer)  Sorry but I had to do a total decon on the machine before I could work on it.  So yeah, a smoke-filled environment is not good for the user nor the machine nor for the guy that has to open the machine up.  And so after lunch he made a bee-line to the corner store for a $12 pack of cigarettes and a lotto ticket.  He's has all the stuff to quit smoking but admits to not breaking open any of the aid packages.  Addiction is tough to beat.

But on a happier note, that was the inspiration of this ible.  If you can't beat 'em, make something to help. I knocked this together today so I can give it to him when I bring the machines back. My "Tuesdays with Morrie".

So this is how my "Tuesdays with Morrie" will go. I  will ask to see the pack of cigarettes that he bought after our lunch.  I will then seal it in my Quit Smoking Emergency Box because I will bring along my portable drill/driver and use my square drive screws(he'll have to find the right bit if he wants to attempt to open the box)  It's not mean, it's an intervention.  We do "love grandpa".  And it will sit next to the repaired computer as a reminder to get out and do better things.

DISCLAIMER: I am a non-smoker. It's your choice if you smoke but don't do it near me. I have seen the effects of chain smoking catch up with some people, it ain't pretty.  The illustration prop inside the Emergency Box is not intended as an advertisement nor endorsement of smoking.  It is hazardous to everyone's health around the smoker and it's nasty.

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Step 1: Bits and Pieces...

I put this together with stuff I found laying around leftover from other projects.

OK, the only thing I had to "borrow" was a bottle of Caitlin's "glow in the dark" fabric paint.  It is the 3-D kind which is gelled and applied with the bottle needle tip applicator.

The Emergency Box is just a simple wooden box with a plexiglas front panel.

I had a piece of leftover plexiglas (acrylic plastic - the cheap one, the LEXAN bulletproof grade polycarbonate is $$$)

Some lumber strips of 1 x 2 and trim 1 x 1 strips.

I also had a block of 1 x 3 to use as the base.

You need some red paint so it will look like a real emergency box.

CAUTION: This is a simple woodworking project so be able to safely cut and fasten your pieces together.

Step 2: Measure Once, Cut Thrice...

I took my piece of plexiglas and trimmed off the rough part to give me a piece 6 1/2 x 8 inches.

Plexiglas is easily cut along a straight line by scoring first and then applying pressure to snap it off.  I have a ductwork metalworking tool that is handy to grab the piece if you do not have a metal brake.

I based all of my other measurements off that piece of clear plastic.  No need to take out the tape measure, just butt up and mark a tick or is that tick a mark?

Cut 1 x 2 lumber into pieces to form the top and side walls of our box.  You should form a surround or frame that closely fits the perimeter of your plexiglas.

Cut a 1 x 3 piece a little wider than the width of all above to form the base.

Step 3: Stick It Together...

I use a pocket hole jig to drill my holes and use the pan head pocket hole screws to fasten the box frame together.

The jig allows you drill and scoop out a pocket so you can drive a scew perpendicular to the adjoining piece giving it tremendous strength.

Once the top and sides are attached, position it closer to the front of the base and secure it.

When you have a box frame built, cut pieces of 1 x 1 to act as a stop frame for the plexiglas that will be mounted inside.

Don't butt that even with the edge of the box frame, give it a little setback, a nice detail or reveal that gives class to your project.

From here I just started piecing together other scraps to fill in the back.

I had a piece of MDF wainscoting panel that was cut to fit the last opening gap.

Step 4: Let Your Message Shine...

Real emergency boxes have white letters silk screened on to the glass panel.   When printed on the inside of the glass, it gives it a nice clean look and keeps it from getting worn.

I was thinking how could I replicate this but I don't have a silk screen set up nor do I have any sign painting inks.  I could have printed out a sticker but that would be kinda cheesy.

I could have used the dremel to etch out the letters or a nice lasercut sign would be nice.

I then remembered Caitlin had her stash of fabric paints and I found the glow-in-the-dark paint which would be kinda cool for this project.

I sketched out my lettering on a piece of paper.

I darkened in the letters on the opposite side so I would get the reverse image.

I taped my template to one side of the plexiglas.

I then hand lettered the signage by tracing the letters with the needle applicator tip of the paint bottle.

This glow paint does dry to a cloudy mint so it does look like white lettering with a bonus glow in the dark.

Step 5: Paint Your Wagon...

They had on sale this 40 color acrylic paint sampler which I got at the craft store this weekend.  Luckily it had a "lantern red" outdoor type acrylic paint.  

I gave it two to three coats of paint.  I should have primed it first but I was rushed for time.  The acrylics dry pretty fast considering it was so humid today.

When dry, you can start the assembly.

Place the acrylic sign panel in place.

It is held with two stop strips which are glued to the side walls.

I then glued on my top back piece.  This needed to be off so that the plexiglas panel could be fitted in first.

Position the final panel in place and drill pilot holes for the mounting screws.

Place "contents" inside and secure the mounting screws.

Use a permanent marker or paint marker to put a personal greeting on the box.

Make one today to gift and show you care.

Hey, how about putting a slot in the top so that he could bank all the money he would have spent instead.  Use it as a "swear jar" .  2 or 3 packs would get you an Arduino...


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    12 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    An addiction will only EVER be quit when the addict makes his or her OWN CHOICE to quit. No one can ever successfully make that decision for anyone. I'd like to think I know what I'm talking about, having recovered from and permanently kicked more than a few addictions. Only reason I haven't quit cigarettes yet, is because every time I have quit ciggies, I decided to start up again. But taking an addict's stash/bottle/pack will never serve their interests, only your own satisfaction.

    2 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I am not a professional counselor so I can only do what I know how, all with the best intentions. At least it gave him a laugh and planted the thought he's got some people that love him and maybe he should try to stick around a little bit longer.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is so well done - I think it would help anyone trying to quit - to see the effort made on their behalf.

    3 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. The person knows they need to quit but they need a constant kick in the pants to get started on stopping.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Ah, you're soft on him - you should epoxy the box shut!

    Many years ago, I helped run a film club. One of the other committee members was trying to quit smoking, but not very hard, so we put his last pack through the club's ID card laminating machine, one cigarette at a time. They got squashed by the rollers, so we could cram most of them back into the pack like cards, with a note that said "In case of emergency, tough, you've given up".

    (He wasn't very happy when he found out...)

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    "By any means necessary..." 

    Hmm, maybe just pour in a quart of Fiberglas resin and carbonite the pack in glowing amber.  Reaction to this would range from mild to severe but worth the consequences.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Embed LEDs around the edge to make the resin glow!

    Make a couple of them UV to charge up the paint more quickly!