Measure for Measure…

measure for measure by iain bailey

A few months ago I picked up the trick Measure for Measure by Iain Bailey on the used magic market. This is a tape measure prediction, where you pull the tape out and someone says stop and wherever they say stop, there’s a giant arrow on the back pointing to that spot.

What I like about the trick is there’s really no explanatory phase to it. You don’t need to set it up, you pull out the tape, they say stop, and the arrow is there. It’s really quick and direct.

Now what I don’t like is that the tape is really hard to manage once you get past a few feet. I think Iain in the video mentions he came up with the trick during the COVID shutdown, so I’m guessing he hasn’t really tried it outside of a virtual context before he released it. The big problem with the trick is that once you get past pulling out a few feet of the tape ruler, it gets very hard to manage. The tape gets floppy and makes the trick hard to present…especially from a technical angle, but also from a visual standpoint. It doesn’t look good with you struggling to hold a tape measure straight.

One solution is to have someone from the audience hold one end of the tape. That’s a decent solution, but it’s not always practical from a stage craft and technical end. My solution was to go to my trusty 3D printer and make a thing that will got onto the mic stand that I can put the tongue of the tape measure into. Here’s what it looks like on the computer:

And here’s what the initial print looks like:

Measure for Measure by Iain bailey

I made it a little bit bigger than it needed to be, so to tighten the gaps, I put the furry side of velcro inside of the holes. I also noticed that the flat end where the tape measure will sit shouldn’t be flat on the top, but concave. I didn’t want print another one, so I hit it with a heat gun, then pressed the tape measure down on it to make it concave. Here’s what the final thing looks like:

Measure for Measure by Iain bailey

That just slips onto a mic stand and I’m good to go.

Measure for Measure by Iain bailey

It holds the end of the tape measure very securely and low, so the audience hopefully can’t really see the backside of it. As a bonus the action of putting it into the holder hides the secret move that needs to take place at the beginning of the trick.

I’ve always said that most of magic is problem solving. Making this little holder took me about 10 mins to design another 10 minutes to alter and solves the big problem with actually doing the trick!

-Louie

Double Action Pull…

For some reason I’ve been thinking of the “double action” birdcage pull lately. I’ve used one a long time ago, and never really felt it contributed much to the vanish. Essentially what a double action pull does is give you more pulling power with less motion. It converts your motion 2 to 1, so you move one inch and the line moves two inches! It’s a great way to reduce arm motion for the vanishing birdcage, but adds complexity to the setup. Every bit of complexity you add, it’s another thing that can potentially go wrong. This may be the issue I have with it, the gain of having reduced motion isn’t worth the risk.

I haven’t used one in 15+years. Tonight I decided to make one, so I designed this one to be 3d printed:

double action birdcage pull

Here’s what the insides look like:

double action birdcage pull

There’s not really too much to it, it was a simple design and a quick print. Here’s the printed version:

There are a couple of things I want to change after printing the first one. The big change is that I want it just a little bit larger, so that I can fit a bearing inside for the pulley.

I’ll do a new design later today and hopefully I’ll nail it the second time!

-Louie

Coins and Confetti…

At my gig this month, I’m really trying to streamline my show and what props I’m lugging around. I have way more stuff than I need in my table. However I also noticed that for the coin trick that I do, the coins right now lay in a stack on my table bin. I think it would be easier to have them in a vertical stack. They’ll take up less space and be easier to grab. I also am playing with a bit where I need to grab some confetti from my case. An easy way would be to have a little holder that attaches to the side of the case.

This is where 3D printing comes in handy. It took me about 5 minutes to design the two holders:

magic coin holder and magic confetti dropper

It took about an hour for the two holders to print, and I’m good to go! 5 minutes of active work and here’s what I ended up with:

It’s little things like this, that if I had to make from “found materials” it would have taken me more that five minutes to make. This is why I’m such a fan and suggest to everyone that they learn to 3D print!

Out to 3D Print Lunch…

One of the tricks I’ve been doing a lot lately is my “Free Pitcher of Beer” trick that’s based on the out to lunch magic trick principle. I’m packing for a show and realized I didn’t have any thick rubberbands to hold the cards together. I quickly made a 3d model of a business card holder and printed it out!

His holder has a little recess in it to hold the half card. The half card is actually taped in place, so it can’t come out. In the traditional method, friction holds it in place.

We’ll see how well this actually plays out for real people tomorrow!

Telegraph to the Rescue!

Not too long ago I added the remote control chattering teeth bit from my in person shows to my virtual shows and to my surprise, it was a hit! Honestly I didn’t think it would play as well over the screen. After trying it, it’s staying in the family virtual show!

One thing that I didn’t like is that my hand had to drop out of frame to push the button. Honestly, this really isn’t a big deal, and I don’t think that anyone notices it and this isn’t really a magic trick, but a comedy bit. I was going to build the remote transmitter into a foot pedal, then noticed I an old telegraph key kicking around. Here’s what I built:

I had to 3d print the base under the telegraph key to hold the remote transmitter and battery. The telegraphy key simply sits on the floor and I push it with my foot.

I’m a huge fan of props with things that no one sees but you, and there’s some embellishment that only you know about. I know I just built thing, but whenever I look at it, it makes me smile!

More Table Modifications…

In a continuing effort to use my virtual performing space wisely, I added a little bit more to the shelf below my working surface.

The four ball holders on the left are new, along with the coil holder. This also eliminates a couple of body loads that would have been in my in person show. There are still a few prop holders that need to be added, however it’s just a matter of time to design and print them.

Even More Table Work…

I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into the table I’m using for virtual shows. I think it’s really made a difference in the flow of the show. It’s soo much more efficient use of space than how I was previously doing it.

Here’s one view of the shelf:

And here’s the shelf rotated 180 degrees:

The nice thing with having holders is that I can look down and immediately know if something isn’t there as it’s holder will be empty. There are two wild cards as far as set up goes, the rest of the props can stay set up all the time. Those are the Gypsy Yarn and the silk in apple/peach. Both of those routines I set up on the day of the show.

You’ll also notice some redundancies, like each trick that uses a pen has it’s own pen. This is because I don’t want to be searching around for a pen, and it makes sure I have a back up pen if one dries out.

Finished Display

The holder I was printing out the other day is finished and works great! I designed this to display to hold an envelope, or jumbo card upright so that it’s more visible than laying flat on a table. I also put a magnet inside of it so that I can simply stick it to the front of my small case.

Here’s the finished holder:

Here it is holding a giant card:

It holds it very securely, the card won’t fall out under normal circumstances.

It also hit me that I could put a magnet behind my virtual backdrop and use it there.

If I end up using it for virtual shows, I’ll need to print out another one to keep with that show’s props. I really dislike moving props around from case to case. That’s a easy way to forget or lose things.

Triggers…

A couple of days ago I posted a video of a coin production and vanish I had played with a little while ago. Then a day later I posted a video of a short routine idea with that coin production. Those videos were works in progress, and it’s still a work in progress, however I’m working on solving one of the problems, which is probably one of the biggest problems. That is triggering the coin appearance or vanish.

Essentially I needed to design a triggering system for the coin. Here’s what I came up with:

I designed it and it’s 3d printing right now. I’ll assemble it later today and hopefully it will work without any major redesigns!

3D Chop Cup Routine

One of the Facebook groups that I belong to is a Magician’s 3D Printing group. It’s an interesting group, a few people in it are making some cool stuff. Recently someone asked if anyone had made a chop cup before. I mentioned that I had and made stack of nested cups as a final load for it.

I no longer have the set of cups, but here’s an idea of what they looked like:

nested cups and balls final production

This set was 100% inspired by Gary Ouellet‘s column Fulminations in Genii Magazine where he had a series of nested cups as the ending for a cups and balls routine. This led to my Russian Shell Game trick, which is a Three Shell Game that ends with a ton of shells on the table.

The fun thing about the time we live in, is with a little bit of tinkering around, you can make virtually any prop you’ve ever wanted with 3d printer!