For this project, I decided to integrate springs instead of using rubber bands to propel my buttons back into their original positions after being pressed. To do this, I thought of putting a single spring between both buttons. In theory, this idea seems very easy, but when I first tried it, problems immediately began coming up. First of all, what would hold the spring in place, secondly, how will I keep the spring from bending the wrong direction. Imagine holding a spring between your two thumbs and trying push it together. What would happen is the spring would bend in every direction except together. To combat this, I have to either enclose the spring in some sort of tube (which I tried and failed at), or to feed some sort of rod through the spring. The second idea is the one that worked. I found a wooden rod that fit perfectly through the spring. I than 3D printed two buttons that were hollow, but had an open side and a closed side, and laser cutted two pieces of acrylic with holes in them. I measured those holes so that the wooden rod could fit through them, but the spring would not. The next problem I realized was, how will the spring stay up? While spending time thinking about this, I realized another problem; What happens if you press just one of the buttons instead of both of them? This idea hadn’t come up yet. If you pressed just one of the buttons, than both buttons would move towards the direction you were pushing in. Basically, the spring would work only if you pressed the buttons at the same time. To fix this, I realized that I had to find a way to turn this single spring into two seperate springs. Instead of literally cutting it, I just decided I would drill a hole through the center of the wooden rod and put a nail through that hole. The nail would go through the center of the spring as well as the wooden rod, meaning that if you pressed one end of the spring, only that half of the spring would compress. This also fixed my problem of how the rod would stay up. I realized I could just drill through the play-board and used that screw to bisect the spring and the wooden rod. With a couple of nuts which I used as washers, I was able to put the nail through the cardboard play-board and into the rod and the spring.
After this I realized that the cardboard was too flimsy to hold this spring-button contraption, so I thought of making the play-board out of a different, harder material. This was much harder than I had expected and it took me by far the longest to create. I designed the playboard on a program used for laser cutting called “Corel Draw”, and had to make every hole exactly right, and over time I got it. I finally, after a lot of trial and error, I was able to laser cut the play-board out of acrylic and it printed almost perfectly.