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Posts Tagged ‘toys’

Puzzle Keepers: Folio XIII


This was the fourth Puzzle Keepers puzzle I created, this one on the occasion of my nephew’s 7th birthday. In this, I introduced an antagonist faction- the Knowledge Containment Initiative (KCI), as a sort of bureaucratic and vaguely fascist foil to the open nature of the Puzzle Keepers. The backstory for the puzzle was that a set of papers (“Folio XIII”) that had long been in the possession of the PK had been stolen by Knowledge Containment agents. The pages were blank, but both groups had good reason to believe that there was invisible writing that could be revealed by applying the proper substance.

KCI scientists worked at the problem, and were getting close. But luckily for our heroes, the information was liberated from a KCI facility and returned to the PK. However, since KCI is so committed to containing information, it was stored in an unconventional manner, on a series of slides. A KCI device for reading the slides was obtained as well, though it was unfortunately not in working order.

So, the puzzle had three components:

  1. First, the machine had to be repaired.
  2. Secondly, the machine could be used to read the slides.
  3. Lastly, the information so obtained could be used to solve an online component and reveal what was written in Folio XIII

Read more…

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Unlimited Adventures (working title)- first steps



For years now, I’ve wanted to create an open-ended system for building playsets suitable for use with 3.75″ / 1:18 scale action figures. I’ve finally started in on it, with the results seen here.

The system is based on a few simple components:

  • base pieces that sit on a table or other flat surface
  • uprights
  • horizontal girders
  • floor panels that sit on top of horizontal pieces
  • wall panels that clip onto uprights

What you see here is the first iteration, with the lengths of both uprights and girders at about half length (for quicker printing during prototyping). Eventually, I’ll be creating a wide range of wall and floor types for different decor (medieval, scifi, etc etc), allowing users to mix-and-match. I want the system to be able to support creating mash-ups between genres, and to allow for both typical military/adventure playsets, dollhouses, and things that are somewhere in between (like a Victorian house with a mad science lab in the basement). I’ll also be creating a ton of add-ons, with many of them including interactive features.

There will definitely be a lot more about the system and the add-ons posted here as I make them, so watch this space!

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Pocket Rainbows!

pocketRainbowSo, I finally got a 3d printer (the excellent Monoprice Maker Select), and I’ve had it running more or less non-stop. One of the first things I did was to revisit a project from roughly 15 years ago- a kind of mechanical toy that causes a rainbow to appear out of (almost) nowhere.

The original version was made out of cardboard, but I’ve always thought it would be great to make one that was both smaller, and made of more durable materials. I designed the model using Fusion360, and I’m really happy with the results.

Here’s what it looks like in action:

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Plush DNA Nucleotides

dna_plush For a while now, I’ve thought that there are lots of great opportunities to expose kids to concepts that are generally considered “advanced” but might not be so if introduced at an early age. This project was an attempt to do just that with a few of the key concepts surrounding DNA.

The toy is a set of plush nucleotides that can snap together to form chains, and connect with velcro across the thymine-adenine and cytosine-guanine bonds. The objects are soft and of a size to be easily handled by a baby. The hope is that kids can use it at different ages, learning different things as they go, something like the following:

  • infant: manual dexterity, help with letter recognition (A,T,G, and C, at least)
  • childhood: that DNA is a thing that forms chains, is made of up four different kinds of blocks, and that there’s some logic to how those blocks connect
  • teenager/college: beloved toy from early childhood that just happens to be a handy reminder of the actual names and chemical structures of the nucleotides

The project was a ton of fun to build, and seems to be being enjoyed greatly by the kids that have received a set. For more info, check out this album of the build process.

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