Welcome, MAKE readers!

Posted on January 14th, 2011 at 8:57 pm by


Make LogoWelcome, MAKE readers!  I’m very pleased that you dropped by and hope you enjoyed my article on the Reverse Geocache™ Puzzle Box (p. 144 of the January issue).  We have a wonderful community of puzzle box owners, builders, and enthusiasts here, centered around the notion of location-based microcontroller projects, and we’d love for you to join us. (If you’re unfamiliar with the story, I recommmend you read about the very first puzzle box here then skim through some of the other articles.)

Care to add your name to our email list?  We’d love to have you:


And if you have any good puzzle box stories to share, I am avidly collecting them.  There are some remarkable and moving tales out there of people who have proposed marriage with rings hidden in puzzle boxes or traveled thousands of miles to reach a certain memorable destination.  It makes my skin tingle to think of them!

Meanwhile, here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions:

1. Who is that kid in the magazine pictures? 
That’s my nephew Nate.

Nate hunting for "the magic spot"

Nate hunting for "the magic spot"

2. Are you selling these puzzle boxes?
Yes, I built a number of them on commission in 2010 and plan to continue streamlining my processes to make them more affordable.  There are lots of new commissions and exciting puzzle box games planned for 2011.  If you’d like to commission one, they make fantastic wedding or engagement or graduation gifts.  As I’ve told many people, a carefully planned puzzle box quest can yield memories that last a lifetime.  Read over the website and contact me at mikal <at> arduiniana.org.

3. Can you help me build one?
Sure.  Building your own puzzle box is a rather complex task, but ultimately can be very rewarding.  To help out people who think they might like to try, I’ve posted some instructions and a skeletal sample of some source code that might get you started.  If you are building a box using supplies similar to those I mention in the article, another huge timesaving device is my custom Arduino shield PCB.  I have a few extra of these and am selling them to DIY’ers.  I strongly recommend using a custom shield.  It saves a lot of headache and makes for a much tidier, compact design.

The new reverse geocache PCB

Reverse Geocache™ shield (populated)