One of the joys I’ve experienced through adding to the Makezine blogging universe is the feedback I receive from individuals who have discovered my channel and cardboard creations. It is nice to receive emails and comments from people who previously never realized just how versatile cardboard can be in inventive pursuits. People discovering the extremes to which cardboard can be warped and fashioned to make anything possible.
One question I recently received was from a viewer who wanted my personal reflection on, “… the most ridiculous yet fun and challenging concept I’ve ever made?”
Now, I have made some truly bizarre concepts in the five years I have operated my Homemade Game Guru channel. Beyond the standard fare of cardboard swords, geek crafts and children’s crafts, some of my more ostentatious designs have included a world record attempt board game that measured 775 square feet, a ‘booger’ whip (made out of that cheap sticky hand toy you get out of vending machines or from dollar stores) and of course my most ambitious and insane idea to date – an above-ground giant cardboard swimming pool that actually held water (until I filled it to the point of exploding open and flooding three backyards – good times!)
I’m actually planning to redo the cardboard swimming pool idea again this summer. The amazing reception the original 2011 video produced has been truly inspiring and I plan to share the updated initiative with you all come July.
However, as an answer to the original question of what I believe is my most ridiculous yet fun and challenging idea ever … well, I would have to say it is my Nunee New recreational mobile concept created on June 22, 2013.
It was in late May 2013 when I decided, out of the blue, to combine three mobile toy concepts into one mash-up model made out of cardboard and scrap wood. I wanted to fuse a Segway, a skateboard, and a scooter into one new form. That new form became the Nunee New!
The basic idea was to make a device that could stabilize like a Segway, would be sturdy like a skateboard and could be used to do tricks like a scooter, but made mostly out of cardboard. It was a challenging engineering task – especially for someone with little engineering knowledge. What I really had was an improbable idea and more ambition than sense (as if that was going to stop me).
It took three weeks of trial and error and more than 20 sheets of cardboard to figure out how to make the base of my new contraption strong enough to sustain the weight of an average person. I decided to utilize metal castors as the wheels. At $4 a pop and a weight threshold of 100 lbs. each, the castors were a great inexpensive option to support the base of the invention. Using something metal did feel a bit like cheating, but ensuring I didn’t crack open my head was more important than reinventing the cardboard wheel.
The concept’s main handle/control was a fused scrap piece of wood I found at a construction site two years previous. It was actually two pieces of improperly cut wood that somewhat resembled a single control module with a shaft. I picked it up from a recycling bin when I was driving by a housing development. Whenever I find a uniquely shaped object in my travels, I usually hold on to it and wait for the right idea to come along to use it. The Nunee New was the idea this scrap wood object was waiting for!
Being a Trekkie fan boy, I converted the scrap wood piece into the concept’s control module reminiscent of the USS Enterprise’s (NCC-1701-D) control panel. A splash of geek makes everything so much cooler!
To make the Nunee New more like a Segway, I designed it to move forward by pushing the control module forward (with the help of a foot powered kick push) and to get it to stop, the control module was pulled back to break using a wood stump and duct tape I placed as the bottom rear stopper.
Amazingly, construction glue was all that was needed to keep the contraption secured together. With a blast of spray paint, the finished design was ready for the outside world.
I had a blast zooming around the gravel paths at a nearby park. Enjoying the cockeyed WTF stares I received from fellow skateboarders as I passed them on a cardboard board.
As for the unusual name “Nunee New,” my love of the classic Sesame Street “Typewriter Guy” was the inspiration. I made a video called How the Nunee New Got Its Name to best explain the rationale behind the odd name choice.
So there you have it! The most ridiculous yet fun and challenging concept I have made … for now!