Friday, April 23, 2010

Ball Box

"Ball Box" is made from repurposed cigar boxes, bottle caps, and wine cork. The foundation of the box is made from pine. The box's interior uses traditional magic principles for vanishing an object. The hinges for the doors on either side are made from a clothing hanger. The wire was cut and pressed in to fit from the top and bottom, so the doors can swing freely.


  1. thanks Philippe! I think I had one too many cups of coffee that day.

  2. No, the performance is perfect. There should always be too much going on, so "too much coffee" works great.

    Where do you get all the wonderful cigar boxes? Is there a better source than starting to smoke 'em?

    They add a nice accent to the projects and avoids that dreaded "just bought at the local magic shop" feel.


    PS Great work with the pictures. Makes me think of when the Air Force released the first still pictures of the F-117 Stealth Fighter and when asked why, if nobody was allowed to see it, where they releasing nice big pictures of it?. The spokesperson pointed out that the camera angles "where very carefully chosen."

  3. Thanks for all those kind words John. Reading your comment inspires me. Thank you so much for seeing what I've made and appreciating it! It made my day! I go to every cigar shopI can and ask for boxes. Sometimes I pay a dollar or two.

  4. Johan! Apologies for the wrong spelling!

  5. Spelling — No problem. Traditional Swedish name, so I get "John" or "Johann" a lot. For some unknown reason I find the later more annoying. Don't know why.

    Cigar boxes: Oh. That was obvious. I have to try to find some local smoke shops to hit. (Google is my friend!) Well worth paying for. Any luck at flea markets? To me, the cigar boxes works great to tweak the look of what could have been a trick the audience is already familiar with. Think of how bad it would be if everybody used the same false thumb to hide the folded dollar bill in... oh. I guess the all do use the same false thumb. (Including the very sun-tanned magician using a standard pale pink one I saw a few years back. [sigh])

    "seeing what I've made": That's because you have hit my sweet spot between magic and DIY/Make/Hacking.


    I'm showing your videos to my ten year old son one by one, and then we talk through the illusion where I ask him what he thinks he saw and how he thinks it was done.

    I don't give away the solution, so it is more like guiding him to look at _everything_ going on, not just the obvious. (E.g., Penn's rants are often beautiful poems, but why does he pick _that_ particular point in the trick for a lengthy exploration of the intricasies of randomness? Could it be that the timing itself isn't random? :-)

    Anyway, the concrete physical (apparent) simplicity of your boxes fits his very good spatial perception, and as expected, that confidence tend to lead him way way astray. Sometimes, understanding what you _didn't_ see is much more useful in explaining something than just looking at what you _did_ see.

    You'll be happy to hear that he has never figured it out on first try, and I don't think he has been able to explain all the little details of any one of the illusions. It is an iterative process and there isn't really a shortcut for figuring it out yourself.

    Magic is not just a source of wonder, but also a tool for skeptical thinking. Since The Amazing Randi is better at bending spoons than Uri Whatshisname, shouldn't we be a bit skeptical when Uri can only explain it with occult powers and flying saucers while Randi will happily confess that it is just a trick that he and others can and do teach?

    Oh, well. That last was a bit off-topic, but I just wanted you to know that your blog actually has a use as an educational tool too.

    Thank You.