Kids are ingenious and when they create, unless the world has intruded too heavily on their minds already, they don’t naturally think of limitations, and are often shocked when they run up against a brick wall for the first time. They take their crayons out, and draw up fantastical designs of seemingly impossible creations, with no sense of the impossibility of actually constructing their inventions.
The following video shows you a great example of this. It’s of how a young boy is frustrated while creating things with his Tinkertoys and K’Nex. He tells us that he doesn’t understand why he can’t connect create something that utilizes both of the construction toys together.
3D printing to the rescue! Having a home 3D printer allows you to create that which is that which is dreamed of, but doesn’t yet exist. In this case, an adapter that would connect a Tinkertoys piece and a K’Nex piece would be exactly what this child and others like him need.
The folks at F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab have meet the challenge and created 3D models for not just one adapter, but an entire set of 80 different adapters for the connections between not just these two construction toys, but for Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob! With these, there’s no holding back the boy in the video, and the millions of other kids like him. That’s ten construction toy sets in all.
Here’s a video of the entire set, which they call the Free Universal Construction Kit:
But, you can’t buy these adapters from the creators. They’re not selling them. That’s not how this sort of thing works in the new world of 3D printers. Instead, they are giving away the set of 3D models in .STL format for you to print yourself. The model set is posted up on Thingiverse for you to download and print on your own inexpensive 3D printer, such as Makerbot, RepRap, Ultimaker, or Printrbot.
If you don’t have your own 3D printer yet, no worries. You can upload the free .STL file to any of the personal 3D printing service bureaus like Ponoko, Shapeways and QuickParts and place your order for as many as you need.
Note that their license for the Free Universal Construction Kit prohibits commercial use of these designs in mass production.
Website: Free Universal Construction Kit