Alexander
Rulkens
interaction designer creative coder explorer

Magic Box

parametric design for everyone

Press fit Magic Box example

Magic Box is an online parametric design tool. A designer can make a template for a product - boxes, furniture, clothes - and the user can easily customize that template to make their own unique design.

The output file can be put on a laser cutter or CNC milling machine, creating instant customizable products.

Year

2009-now

My role

Initiator, programmer, designer

Team

Wouter Walmink

,

Henri Schröter (intern: graphic design, programming)

,

Lotte van der Zanden (intern: graphic design, promotion)

Links
Tech

Flash / Actionscript

,

Javascript / browser-based

Flyer describing the idea behind Magic Box

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Evolution

The initial version of Magic Box was a simple online experiment and allowed people to quickly make a box in any size. It was a success and was used by many and won first prize in the Unlimited Design Contest. I decided to continue development and started working on a new version that featured its own language for easy drawing of parametric designs. It features a dual interface: one side is used by designers to make templates and the other by users to customize the template and save the design for production.

Magix Box interface

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Development of Magix Box has been very much community driven by working together with designers and users to make the language and interface more intuitive.

Customizable glasses

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Fab Labs & DIY

From its earliest incarnation in 2006 Magic Box has spread to Fab Labs throughout the world. It is used on a day-to-day basis by people to create designs for laser cutting and CNC milling. It fits perfectly into the workflow of DIY places by providing people with a simple interface, immediate results, and direct integration with most of the machines available.

Cup made with Magix Box (and Repper pattern)

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Magic Box is one of the few tools available to the DIY community that requires almost no prerequisite knowledge (unlike complex 3D & design software) and can be used directly by first-time visitors. I hope that it serves as an inspiration for future tool makers, because the DIY design revolution needs much more user-friendly software to become successful.

Juice package (parametric) made with Magic Box

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As a platform

My vision with Magic Box is to provide an underlying framework for quickly developing tools. It was noticed by the renowed design label Droog and used as the basis for the tools in the Design for Download project. It has been used as the basis for tools for package design, customized fashion and furniture design. Are you interested in using Magix Box for your project? Please contact me.

Video explaining Magic Box (Lotte van der Zanden)

click to play video