Did you know there are groups of gadget cache builders who slave away, day after day, week after week, huddled deep inside cluttered garages, endlessly tinkering with magnets, locks, pulleys, springs, clasps, and other such bric-a-brac? They do this for you, to put a smile on your face, and in turn, an even bigger smile on their own.
Meet one such clever cache creator, CacheDweeb. His claw-machine, drawer-popping, and sound-enhanced DONKEY KACHE was featured as a Geocache of the Week. We ask a few questions, get a few answers, and learn the method behind the madness of this master cache owner.
Geocaching HQ: What’s your background outside of geocaching?
CacheDweeb: I work in IT. I’m not an engineer, but I love tinkering with things and figuring how stuff works. I like biking, hiking, and kayaking and besides geocaching, my hobbies include woodworking and building/flying giant scale radio controlled airplanes.
Geocaching HQ: How and when did you hear about geocaching?
CacheDweeb: My brother introduced me to geocaching in 2015. He had been doing it for 6 months, and then explained it to me while we were on a camping trip. After going out and finding a few caches with him, I was hooked. I already hike/bike/kayak, so geocaching just adds more to outdoor adventures.
Geocaching HQ: What got you hooked?
CacheDweeb: After finding about 200 caches, I happened to stumble across one of WVTim’s gadget cache videos. Once I saw that, those were the caches that I wanted to find. Not having anything like that in my immediate area, I decided to build a gadget cache and put it out. The local cachers loved it. Since then that’s what I’ve been building and placing.
Geocaching HQ: What keeps you engaged in the game?
CacheDweeb: I think what keeps me engaged are my friends. Since I’ve started geocaching, I met a lot of great cachers who are now some of my closest friends. I don’t get out to cache as often as I like, but I belong to a committee called the C-Mass Geofest (Central Massachusetts) who work with the Sturbridge Tourist Association and the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve been hosting large Event Caches for four years now.
I also belong to a local Gadget Cache Builders group. It is a secret closed group on Facebook, with about 25 gadget cache builders, including WVTim. It is strictly for builders only, as the information on there is all spoilers. We share our projects, our skills and experience, and our friendships. They are all a great group of people.
Geocaching HQ: For you, what makes a quality cache?
CacheDweeb: One that is well maintained and fits its surroundings, whether it’s camouflaged or in plain sight. Of course, I love gadget caches, but I also like ‘unique’ hides, or what I call “something other than Tupperware”.
Geocaching HQ: What’s the best approach to take when creating a geocache?
CacheDweeb: I think the best approach is to choose materials for the container which blend in with its surroundings, and most of all, hold up to the climate it is placed in. As far as the best approach to creating gadget caches, you need to make them as bullet-proof as possible. Use materials that will hold up to a large number of cachers poking, pulling, and pushing everything on it. Also, you need to select the correct materials for the type of climate it will be in. For example, here in New England, we get everything from heat, wet, cold, and chill-to-the-bone frozen. Using wood for push/pull rods or slides won’t last because the wood swells in the humidity. You can use plastic or metal, which will work better and last much longer. Also, you need to test, test, test before you have your gadget cache published. I have my muggle family and friends test my gadget caches so I can see what works and what might need improvement.
Geocaching HQ: Do you find it difficult to perform maintenance on gadget caches?
CacheDweeb: In the beginning, yes. After many builds, you learn to spot problem areas before they become problems. The right materials are key. For example, rather than using kite string through pulleys, you’re better off using high-strength fishing line since it’s much more durable and will last a lot longer than any other string. I found this out the hard way on my DONKEY KACHE gadget cache. It was published just before a large event. The original string originally could not hold up to the wear and tear of so many cachers using it on one weekend.
Geocaching HQ: Have you ever had an idea that you thought was impossible?
CacheDweeb: Sure, all the time! As a builder, I keep a notebook that I add ideas to, so I don’t forget them. And they come to you in the oddest places. Once I was at my nephew’s hockey game. After the game, some of his teammates skated over to get off the ice and pushed down on a button on the top of the rink gate. On the outside of the gate where I was standing, it was open, so you could see how everything worked. At that moment, I had no idea what I would ever use that locking mechanism for, but I just had to take a photo of it with my phone for my “You never know” folder.
Geocaching HQ: Do you have any great ideas brewing?
CacheDweeb: This year, I started learning how to code caches with sound effects. Since I have a background as an IT developer with various code languages, the learning curve was easy. I’m building a payphone gadget cache that will ring and accept certain phone numbers. It should be out in the spring of 2019.
Geocaching HQ: If someone was looking to you for inspiration what would you tell them?
CacheDweeb: You don’t necessarily need to have skills or power tools to put out a creative cache. You just need your imagination. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as a gadget cache. I think the average cacher would rather find a unique container over Tupperware any day.
Geocaching HQ: Thanks so much for talking with us. Any last thoughts on geocaching?
CacheDweeb: The great thing about geocaching is you can do it pretty much anywhere. If you’re on a business trip, or out on vacation somewhere, you can always take a look around to find out if there are any caches nearby.