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Picture of GrimmsBox: Build Your Own Storytelling Device

This instructable will show you how you to build your own storytelling box. Feel free to choose your own adventure.

The so called "GrimmsBox" was a project by students from the Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, Germany. We use a common receipt printer to print out the first part of a story. At the end of the part a decision needs to be made. Using buttons you can choose how the story shall go on. We use a Raspberry Pi to run the software.

Two of the Boxes will be in use very soon. The public library in Mannheim is organizing workshops with children. The children can create their own stories and they can experience their stories with the help of GrimmsBox. The main goal of such workshops is the promotion of reading and writing abilities.The storytelling boxes will also be taken to events so children from classes 3 to 6 will be introduced to an immersive reading experience.

Step 1: How to Make the Case for GrimmsBox

Picture of How to Make the Case for GrimmsBox

Required materials:

  • 1x 6 mm plywood plate (1200x600x6mm)
  • 1x 4 mm plywood plate (1200x600x4mm)
  • wood glue
  • required devices: laser cutter, computer

The files used by GrimmsBox are available as free download. The files are svg and dxf files of the individual components of GrimmsBox. This is on the one hand the substructure where the Raspberry Pi finds its place, then the book with a bending hinge and a self-designed book stand.

The 6mm plywood plate is used for the substructure and the book stand. The book was cut out of 4mm plywood plate. The thicker plate would be too thick to make the book. The bending hinge only works with 3-4mm plywood panels. Otherwise, it would break.

The dxf files are the right choice for those who don't want to change anything anymore. These are ready to use on the laser cutter.

But for those who still want to give the box their own touch, can use SVG files in the box. These can be changed as desired. To do this, the file must be opened in a program (e. g. Inkscape). With these programs you can edit the individual components. If you have changed something (e. g. the size of the holes for the buttons or the pull-around) you have to save the SVG file as a dxf file.

The dxf file must be opened at the laser cutter. As soon as the file is displayed on the PC, it must be selected which lines are to be cut and which are to be engraved. The lettering on the side of the box was engraved on Grimm's box and the lettering on the book was weakly cut. Depending on what you like better, you can use one or the other. The outer lines must of course all be cut. However, the use of the laser cutter can depend on the model of the laser cutter and can be different.

PaulChau5 months ago
I'm a little confused how this all works - I've never been a great fan of coding. But I can definitely see that there's a lot of potential for developing a tool like this. Most libraries would probably benefit from getting something like this installed in the children's section if it could help the kids with reading and to encourage more of them to love books more!
Honestly, I doubt children would even be listening to the stories that are being read by this machine. They would basically be pressing the different buttons just to see how the whole system works and changes. Nevertheless, the idea still is out of this world!
I had the opportunity to get my hands on this box after the project.

First experiences with the box show that it actually works. Depending on the length of the story there is rather the strong wish to start over and check all available options. But of course sometimes kids just want to hit the buttons and see the box printing.

As you mention listening, I actually showed the box to my 4y old and read to her what was printed by the box and she enjoyed it very much to press the button with the right number to decide how the story should proceed.