Tag Archives: Final Fantasy VI

111: Bottlecap Sign

The full bottle cap holder. Read on to find out how it was made!
The full bottle cap holder. Read on to find out how it was made!

It wasn’t all that long ago that the craft beer explosion happened, but it’s hard to think back to when beer—at least in my life—was a choice between Budweiser and Miller products. While I’m sure there’s debate aplenty about the community that formed around craft beer, you can’t dismiss all of the awesome artwork that community has produced. One of the best design ideas I’ve seen spreading around the Internet has been beer cap holders. They come in many sizes and shapes—usually states and countries—and are an artistic way to keep track of which craft breweries you’ve sampled fizzy drinks from.

The fact that most of these holders were laser cut was only part of the reason for my interest; many of the examples I saw had different amounts of studs to grip the bottle caps, and I wondered which one was the best solution. Sure, I could’ve done the research and stopped there, but that’s not nearly as much fun. A bottle cap holder I would make!

A stack of prototypes, some with six studs and some frightfully too small.
A stack of prototypes, some with six studs and some frightfully too small.

In my research, I learned that most pop caps (and the twist caps based on their design) have 21 teeth. Despite this, my first few prototypes had six studs. Once I realized they didn’t fit very well on the teeth of the caps I redesigned to include seven evenly distributed studs. I also experimented with stud design, settling on trapezoids after rectangles were too tight and triangles were just a little too loose. This mission to match the studs with the cap teeth would eventually cause me an issue: Goose Island’s caps have 27 teeth! Every other cap I had was only 21. While some size variance made some caps tighter and some caps looser, only Goose Island had to sit this one out. I hate geese anyway.

Bottle caps have feelings too. Look at how well the studs fit between the teeth!
Bottle caps have feelings too. Look at how well the studs fit between the teeth!

Once I had a single cap holder squared away, I spent an unreasonable amount of time trying to fit a grid of them into the word “beer”. I agonized over spacing, wanting to stick to some kind of grid without ending up with awkward, noticeable gaps. It wasn’t long before I realized I’d have to design my own letters based off of the grid rather than relying on otherwise well-made typefaces.

The initial design, with three caps per stroke. Way too big!
The initial design, with three caps per stroke. Way too big!
Another attempt, at a slightly more manageable size.
Another attempt, at a slightly more manageable size.
The final layout (apologies for how difficult it is to see!)
The final layout (apologies for how difficult it is to see!)

After a few attempts at grid-based letters that turned out far too large for the scope of this project, I ironically ended up back at a typeface: one I designed years ago based off of the bitmap version of Chicago present in Final Fantasy VI. Why not add a geeky touch? It also very easily solved the issue of making the letters fit on a grid due to its low resolution pixel quality.

Mounting holes and box joints.
Mounting holes and box joints.

Once I had the design complete, I whipped up a quick (and honestly lazy) box joint connection to hold two pieces together; the sign was very nearly three feet long and I couldn’t cut it out of one piece of oak ply. In hindsight, I should have engraved the sections of wood that held together each letter; they’re just a little too noticeable and wouldn’t be if darkened. I also inserted some small holes for screws that will eventually hold this a small distance from whatever wall it ends up on. A light sanding later and the finished piece was ready for caps!

Goose Island just had to have 27 teeth. Figures. Geese.
Goose Island just had to have 27 teeth. Figures. Geese.

…As it turns out, I don’t have many caps. I’ll fix that!

 

16: Etched Storage Boxes

These small plastic dialog boxes—featuring quotes from classic games like Final Fantasy VI and Earthbound—are some of the products I sell on Etsy, available as magnets or pins. They’re tiny, and while they stack nicely it gets a little unruly when I have stacks of dialog boxes just sitting around my workbench. So, this week, I decided to solve the issue by laser-cutting a small plastic footer to fit inside some of Jennifer’s jewelry gift boxes. She donated one of her boxes a while back just to keep the dialog boxes from being stored out in the open, but it was still difficult to find out whether I had the right dialog box handy when necessary.

The Earthbound dialog box storage has two columns, handy for dividing standard texts from Mr. Saturn texts.
The Earthbound dialog box storage has two columns, handy for dividing standard texts from Mr. Saturn texts.

I designed the footers so that they would fit snugly in the bottom of the jewelry box (which has had its fuzzy cotton interior removed). Measuring the slat dimensions was as easy as measuring the existing dialog boxes and providing a little extra space so that they wouldn’t fit too tightly or be scratched by the new plastic. An early 1/16″ thick prototype didn’t hold the dialog box blanks as firmly as I’d like, but I really did want some give so I could easily flick through the product. Once I settled on a better material—1/8″ black acrylic with no cap—I cut one footer out with two columns for Earthbound dialog boxes and one single-column piece for the longer Final Fantasy VI dialog boxes. The results fit very nicely in the repurposed jewelry boxes.

The Final Fantasy VI dialog boxes fit lengthwise, with room for only one column.
The Final Fantasy VI dialog boxes fit lengthwise, with room for only one column.
The lids have been etched with an example of the contents within.
The lids have been etched with an example of the contents within.

For a bit of extra fun, I laser-etched the box lids with one of the main dialog boxes from each series. I was hoping that the lid material would etch away to the white underneath, but the brown cardboard color has a homemade appeal to it.

Eventually, I’ll be stealing more of Jennifer’s dialog boxes so I can separate out the Earthbound dialog boxes from their Mr. Saturn counterparts. Hopefully she won’t miss them! In the meantime, I’m just going to keep shaking the Earthbound box back and forth, because the shuffle sounds great!

If you’re interested in the dialog boxes, check out their section on my Abecediary store on Etsy! They’re available as magnets or pins, and I’ll even put whatever quote you’d like on them, so long as it fits!