One of the things that a lot of magicians use are magic tricks that use electronics. They are fun and you can do a lot of really impossible things with them, but the hard part is finding an “out” if the electronics fail. And they will fail at some point if you are out there working.
In my show I use a Rubik’s Cube that a special something inside and if that ever fails, in most routines you’re really screwed. Awhile ago I 3D printed a box for it, so if it does fail, I can use the box like the old color vision box. The color vision trick is a pretty good trick on it’s own, so having that as my back up method isn’t the worst out in the world.
I’ve been using the 3d printed box for a little over a year and wore it out!
I think a combination of me working outside a lot in the heat and it just getting banged around during travel shortened the box’s life. Luckily with 3d printing, it’s a very quick and easy fix. I just hit a couple of buttons and I had a new one with virtually no effort on my part!
A trick that I love and that has been in my roving magic show forever is ProMystic’s MD Mini. I don’t use the trick how it comes when you order it from them, I use it inside a different shell, and recently moved it up into a Rubik’s Cube. You can read about in this blog post from a few weeks ago.
Last week I was performing in person shows at a school doing one show a day for four days for a middle school age audience. These were my first shows doing this trick in the Rubik’s Cube shell and it played great! In these shows I’m going the trick in a platform show, not close up. There was a huge surprise that happened, it got twice the response that I thought it was going to get!
I got two reactions out of the revelation. The first is when I tell the person the color they picked, they react and the audience reacts to that. THEN the person takes the lid off the box and shows the color they picked and that confirmation of the color got a response. That second response really shouldn’t have surprised me because the whole point of the box was to have that moment of showing the audience the selected color clearly.
I’m glad the Rubik’s Cube shell and box is working out, it’s really they way to do the trick for a larger audience. In the past I sold the trick (and it played well) based on the spectator from the audience’s reaction. The nice thing about doing it with the larger cube is I can do this on stage with no contact and socially distant from the person from the audience who could stand on the opposite side of the stage!
In my continuing quest to make things play bigger, I’ve finally altered a trick that I used close up to hopefully have it play for a bigger audience. The trick started as Huge Shelley’s iCube trick. The problem with his set up was that I found using my phone as a thumper was unreliable. The bluetooth would drop, or I wouldn’t necessarily be able to feel the vibrations.
I then got a ProMystic MD Mini, which is completely reliable. I just didn’t like the look of the cube, so I put the guts into the shell that came with icube and have a little prop that works great for close up!
The next challenge is how to make it play bigger. Right now the cube is about 3/4 of an each on each side. The obvious way it to scale it up to a bigger cube. For that I picked up a Meffert’s Oskar’s Treasure Cube with is a Rubik’s Cube that had a compartment inside.
I put the MD Mini that’s inside the iCube shell into the treasure cube and secured it with sponge. Now I that can be seen in a bigger venue. The next challenge is to figure out a way to show the selected side of the cube. This was a bit of a challenge because if it’s held up and show by someone in the audience, they won’t necessarily do a good job displaying it.
To solve this, I went with an obvious solution, and that’s to put the die is a box with a lid.
The box was a very quick and simple 3D print to design and it only displays one side. No I can simply ask the person to, “take off the lid and show it to the audience” and there’s no issue with displaying the selected color. As a bonus, if the trick ever fails me, I now have an out. I can use it like the old color block trick where you put the lid on the side!
The reality moving forward whether we like it or not will be shows that are socially distant. What that means is a gap between the performer and the audience and having to have people onstage stay somewhere between six and twenty five feet from you. What that means is people can still manipulate objects, they just need to do it from a distance.
That has me thinking of tricks that can be done with someone onstage, but on the opposite side of the stage and using props that I never touch. One of these tricks is Promystic’s Color Match. I did this trick for years, but it cycled out of the show a couple years ago. This fits the rules, it can be done at a distance and without any contact or sharing of the props.
I went out an bought a collapsible easel and 3D printed some cup holders for the easel.
One the right side (when facing the easel) is the cup full of pens and on the left is the empty cup. I have the cup on the left labeled “used”. The “used” pen bin is something that’s very common right now at stores and restaurants due COVID rules. It’s something 18 months ago would be strange, but something that people see often now. Even if they’ve never seen the two cup system at the store, it’s a very simple concept to grasp.
The cool thing is that this solves the problem with what to do with the pen after they use it during the Color Match trick in a logical manner.