Pyramid Power - NO PEEKING players! You know who you are. :)
@ pendrake - No, the paper isn't an issue. I thought about that when I was planning to use it. That's one of the reasons I made my wooden sliders thicker than the baseboard. What has turned out to be a problem is the main gear track. Because I wanted to preserve the integrity of the sides, I wasn't able to shave down the thickness as much as I would like. The gear track sticks up almost exactly as much as the wooden sliders do. I plan to glue some thin metal washers to the underside of my notched panel around each screw hole to widen the gap, but alas, my washers seem to have gone on vacation somewhere. If I can't find them soon, I'll go grab some more.

A micro step of progress. I cut some scrap pieces of the metal flashing material and glued them in the backs of my locking notches. The plan is for me to glue tiny magnets to the ends of my technic gear strip locking pins. These magnets will "catch" onto the metal in the notches giving a sense of locking in place, and keeping the statues on top from freely spinning. I will have to carefully balance the attachment of the magnets so that they give a tactile sense of locking in place while not being too difficult to remove. I do want the players to notice the statues can move after all. Smile

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I plan to have a similar arrangement on the other ends of my locking pins to make it feel like the statues are locking in place once they have been fully rotated and the pins completely clear the notches. With enough time, I hope to make those far end magnets complete electrical circuits to light up parts of the base near each statue once that part has been unlocked. Smile

Good luck everyone!
I glued some small washers to my notched piece to expand the gap slightly and now all my sliding pieces are happy. Big Grin

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I then took some teeny tiny magnets and glued them into one end of each of my gear track locking pins. I drilled out holes that were about half as thick as the magnets. This gave more room for the glue to hold while still leaving the magnets standing a bit proud so that they will be the first thing to touch the little pieces of metal flashing in the notches.

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Next up, picking a final length for the pins, making the magnetic attachments for the other ends of the pins, and exploring electrical contact options.

Good luck and happy building everyone! Smile
More work on the locking mechanisms.

I trimmed my LEGO Technic gear strip locking pins and the wooden guides that constrain them. Here you can see what the pins look like engaged and retracted. When the gears attached to the statues above are turned 180 degrees, the pins will retract until they are flush with the trimmed ends of the wooden guides.

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Here are some close-ups of the trimmed pins.

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Next I made some back stops for the pins.

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Not only will these stops keep the statues from turning too far, but they will also have some metal flashing glued to them so that the magnets I will attach to the other end of the pins will have something to grab onto. This will serve two purposes.

One, the magnets will "lock" into place once the pins have been fully removed. This will give feedback to the players and it will keep the pins from sliding back into the notched part of the sliding panel unless someone deliberately makes them move.

And two, the flashing will be split into two pieces that are not quite touching. The magnets will connect these separate pieces together forming a switch for my lighting.

To hold the pins in the locked position, I used tiny magnets with just enough pull to keep them in place. I didn't want the players to see the statues spinning on their own as the table was jostled, but I also didn't want the force required to turn the statues to be so much that the players would try turning them and then stop before the statues moved for fear of breaking the props. I want them to discover that the statues rotate. So, less force than would be required to snap off a glued down statue, strong enough to resist turning when not bumped deliberately, but easy enough to turn when attempted on purpose. Tricky. Smile I tried to err on the side of just strong enough to hold the pins in place. I will have to see if things work out.

However, for the other end of the locking pins, I want the magnets to be much stronger. I need the pins to be completely retracted for the locking mechanism to disengage and to complete my lighting circuits. So here I used larger square magnets that are much stronger. The players can still disengage the pins and re-lock the mechanism without fear of snapping off the statues, but the force required to turn the statues back to locked is definitely higher than that required to unlock the device.

Of course, I made this decision after I had already trimmed down my pins. Since the square magnets are thicker and not recessed, I had to trim down my pins slightly to accommodate them.

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While the glue on the square magnets was drying, I trimmed some strips of flashing and glued them to the stop blocks leaving a tiny gap.

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Next step, retesting conductivity, gluing everything in place, and then experimenting with lighting. Smile

Good luck and happy building everyone!
Stop blocks with flashing pieces glued into place.

I drilled some holes into the metal to make attaching my wires easier. I could soldier everything, but with my large pieces of metal conducting heat to the wood, I worry that I might burn my wood before my soldier would stick.

Of course I should have thought to drill the holes BEFORE I glued the stop blocks in place, but I didn't. I was careful to hold a scrap piece of wood behind each piece of metal as I drilled my holes so that the metal wouldn't move and I wouldn't risk accidentally ripping any pieces loose.

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Next I attached wires to all eight contacts. Ideally I would have used stranded wire which would have less chance of breaking when bent and twisted, but solid speaker wire is what I had handy and I didn't want to wait while I made yet another trip to the store.

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Once the wires were attached, I crimped and folded the exposed flashing pieces.

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I then dabbed a bit of hot glue. This acts as insulation, but more importantly, it keeps the wires from moving, which might cause the thin solid wires to break at some point in the future.

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Back to building. Smile
Lots of progress. Smile

My illumination will come from holiday tree lights powered by 9-volt batteries.  

First I drilled out some holes in the wood base to let the light up through to the top.  Then I glued on the lights.  I'll also glued on some magnets to act as battery holders.

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Here's a close-up of the connections to one of the lights. I used hot glue to keep the crimped wires together and to act as insulation, but I was careful to make sure that I could still remove and replace the bulbs.

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And here's a close-up of the neodymium magnets I glued to the wood to act as battery holders.

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Two magnets are plenty strong enough to hold a battery and keep it from falling off.

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However, while the magnets are strong enough to take the weight of the battery, the smooth tops of the magnets and the sides of the batteries allow the batteries to slide sideways.  I smeared a thin layer of hot glue onto the tops of the magnets to give them a rubbery surface and that did the trick. The strength of the magnets holds the batteries tightly to the rubbery surface keeping them from moving anywhere.

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After that, I started trimming wires and completing circuits.

I could have used a single 9-volt battery to power all four lights in parallel. However, I decided to give each light it's own power source.  This means the lights are extremely bright and can run for ages without worry of draining the batteries.  It also means that the lights will stay the same brightness no matter how many lights are turned on at a given time.

(The visible gear on the shaft is not the one that actually engages the gear teeth on the locking pin. The larger gear was just stuck on to act as a temporary handle to gauge the torque needed for moving the pins away from the magnets.

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I then wired up the rest of the mechanisms and tested them.

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And here is a view from above showing one possible sequence of opening the secret passage. (The pins can be disengaged in any order.)

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I'm going to have to investigate the reason for the light in the upper right being dimmer than the rest. It might be the battery, or the bulb, or perhaps there is more resistance on that magnet.  Hopefully I can tweak it to my satisfaction.  It likely won't be noticeable to anyone else once I'm through, but I'LL know.  Tongue

Good luck everyone, and happy building! Smile

EDIT - It turns out that the upper right light looking dimmer than the rest was just an illusion during the pic taking. It's just as bright as the rest. Smile
[+] 2 users Like ableman33's post
This is looking amazing!  Cool I'm so looking forward to seeing it in action!  
The paper decor looks great.
May the Elements be with you! - OrientDM
To go behind my four smaller rotating statues that will unlock the pins, I wanted to create a subtle set of corner steps that would complement the central sliding platform.

First I cut some pieces of 1/8 inch plywood that match the thicknesses of the bottom level of the sliding platform.

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Here you can see what they will look like in relation to the central platform in the closed and open positions.

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I want light to come through my top steps once the statues have been turned to their fully opened position. I happened to have a bunch of 1 inch by 1 inch clear acrylic squares that are designed to act as bases for flying units.

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Two of these stacked together exactly match the height of my 1/8 inch plywood. I glued these together in pairs to form my top corner-most steps behind my statues.

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Next I added some paper textures to the wooden steps.

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Next up, printing out the covers for the windows on the plastic steps. My plan is for the tops to look like tile until they are illuminated from below.

Good luck everyone. We can do this! Smile
I've covered over my light holes behind each of the four smaller statue locations.

The four symbols represent four of the five parts of the ancient Egyptian soul. The fifth, represented by a completely black figure, will be a silhouette on the wall in the direction the sliding platform will move when the secret passage is revealed.

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Ka (Egyptian- "vital spark", corresponding to the element Water in the main oriental campaign this terrain will be part of.)

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Ba ("personalty"/Air)

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Ib ("heart"/Fire)

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Ren ("name"/Earth)

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In Egyptian mythology, the ka (vital spark) and the ba (personality) reunite after death to form the akh ("soul" that persists after death).

To reflect this, I placed the ka and ba symbols on the side that the moving platform slides toward. Centered between the two on the wall (not yet made) will be a black ankh to represent sheut ("shadow"/Void), which has a nice correlation with the akh.

And, this being a pseudo-Egyptian pyramid dungeon, what better way to enter than through a passage that indicates the spirit after death, and the terror that is wandering ghosts/spirits whose ka and ba were never united in the proper ceremonies... Smile

I ran into an issue when I tried to illuminate my symbols. It turns out that 9-volts sent through a single holiday tree light will burn through the filament really quickly. Blush

So, I removed my 9-volt batteries and rigged up two AA batteries per side to run a pair of lights in parallel. The lights aren't as bright as they used to be, but now they don't burn out in just a couple minutes. Tongue

Here you can see what all four symbols look like illuminated in a brightly lit room.

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And here are some pics with the lights off. The final product shouldn't have any light bleed around the edges.

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Here's a close-up of one of the illuminated symbols in a brightly lit room.

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Here's what the new battery arrangement looks like.

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Since these battery holders are plastic, I attached a piece of metal flashing to the bottom to take advantage of my already installed magnets. Being able to remove the battery packs makes it much easier to replace the batteries than if I had just glued the holders down to the wood.

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Everything I've built so far will actually be suspended above the true bottom of the terrain.

The brown square piece of luan plywood you can see under my work in many of the pictures above will be the true bottom plate. It is 10 inches by 10 inches, matching the top of my main pyramid project.

In order to elevate all the parts I've built so far, I needed to make some rigid spacers that will screw into the base plate.
(Again, I'm using screws so that I can take this apart easily at need. My other screw attachments have been getting a serious workout during construction. Big Grin)

Here you can see two plywood spaces installed behind each battery pack.

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I made these spacers tall enough to clear all my batteries and wires with room to spare.

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After that, I cut out a rectangle from the locking pin notch plate. Since there is so much space between the top of the floor and the bottom of the base, I will need to make a box of foam core to give the illusion of a passage down. But that passage would have gone right though this plate. Smile

So, room needed to be made.

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Here you can see what it will look like from underneath once the passage is opened.

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And a view from the top.

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Here's a view showing how the spacers look with everything right side up.

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While I was at it, I added a third spacer along the side that the silding platform goes away from. This will provide some extra stability at right angles to the other two spacers.
(I can't add a spacer on the side the platform moves toward since the sliding structure goes all the way to the edge.)

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I am SO glad I decided to make this all out of wood. Foam core would have been destroyed long ago.

Pushing on. Best of luck everyone! Smile
There was a lot to catch up on here and the goodness is kind of intense. All I can really say at this point is where do you live? cause I want to be playing YOUR games.

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