With the maze's proof of concept worked out in cardboard, and operating as desired (in 2 days no less!), I then decided to jump into getting the auto-opening back compartment door, maze-to-drawer latching mechanism, sliding drawer, and locking front compartment door integrated into one working model.
My plan was to create a two part model with a "hat" that I could easily detach and install the electronic components into. Over the span of the week I rapidly prototyped the cabinet's mechanical portions, essentially creating a new model every other day for the next 2 weeks. Starting with cardboard, I designed my first version in Illustrator and cut it out on the Epilog Laser Cutter in the DesignLab. After a couple of curse filled hours, foolishly spent trying to assemble my first cardboard model, I quickly realized, contrary to their labeling, that the 1/8" and 1/4" cardboard weren't actually 1/8" and 1/4" thick...
Realizing my error, I immediately switched to MDF (which generally speaking is the width it purports to be, and uniformly thick at that!) and recut my model in MDF the following day... Once I'd finished assembling my second model, made out of MDF this time, I noted this model's errors/issues and started making the necessary modifications to the initial Illustrator file I'd created. After I was satisfied with my edits, I saved this version of the model as a new version, recut it on the laser cutter, and assembled it all again the following day.
I repeated this cut, build, review, tweak model to rapidly iterate the cabinet in quick succession over 2 weeks, creating 5 versions of the cabinet in total in this span of time before arriving at a version of the model that I was satisfied with from a feature + dimension perspective (as shown below in the video) at the end of the week.
With everything more or less completed to my satisfaction on the mechanical side of the cabinet, I was ready to move onto electronics integration in the next version!