I came up with this wooden toy to bring children's toys to the next level.
Essentially, this toy helps children (2 years and older) with their gross motor skills. Children will move the two marbles around the infinity sign track. Most importantly, they will try to place the two marbles simultaneously inside the arrows. Once the marbles are inside the toy, the product will light up! This increases visual attraction for the toy. Not only does it help with their motor and balancing skills, but it's been proven that the children do work well together while playing this infinity sign wooden marble toy.
If you want your child to learn more efficiently through playing educational toys, this is IT! Not only is it easy to carry around, but it is fairly simple to make. :)
Step 1: Buying the Products Needed
Buy products on Amazon.com that are needed for the designed product:
- 2 Metal Ball Bearings of 10 mm diameter
- 20 negative and positive wires: This will allow you to create a complete circuit.
- 1 9V Battery
- Nails/screws: This will allow you to create an on/off switch circuit.
- 2 LED diode light diodes: This is the light source that you will use to light up the product.
- Clear acrylic 2mm thick: This will be the thin cover for the toy, so that the children cannot get hold of the marbles, as it's a choking hazard.
- Thompson’s Water Seal: A clear coated finish that will prevent wood from mold and liquids.
2 pieces of Pine wood: 227x51x15mm
2 pieces of Pine wood: 278x51x15mm
1 piece of Birch Plywood: 227x278x12mm
1 piece of Hardwood: 227x278x3mm
Step 2: Designing the Infinity Sign Shape on the Birch Plywood:
Take the rectangular piece plywood and find the center. To do this, use a ruler to draw a light line. Use a pencil to split the center by dividing the total length and width by 2. The solution will be the center point. After the two lines are drawn, the intersection is the center point of the plywood sheet.
Again, divide the half of the plywood sheet on both sides to create three straight lines coming down.
Use the compass and draw two circles with a radius of 35 mm; the two outer vertical lines that intersect with the other line should be the origin/center.
Draw two outer circles with a radius of 47 mm with the same center point.
Erase the inner pencil lines where the two outer circles are intersecting. Do not remove any part of the inner circle.
Draw one 7 mm radiused circle on the wood. The measurements for the origin of the circle will be 53x28 mm if it is measured from the left corner of the wood.
Draw another small circle connecting with the outer circle, but this time, the wood should be rotated 180°. Follow the same origin starting from the (now) left corner. Note: the center of the circle will be on the outer line of the infinity sign.
Repeat the same step on the opposite side of the outer circle. The two small circles should be on the opposite sides from each other and be interconnecting with the outer circles. To make the smaller circles part of the outer circle, erase the intersecting arcs from the small circle and the outer circle to create a full segment, as shown below:
Now there should be a connected line outside the inner circles. The next step is to scroll saw the outer shape to create a hole of that particular shape.
To be frank, you can just draw out an infinity sign. It just should look similar to the image.
Step 3: Scroll Sawing or Jig Sawing the Infinity Shaped Hole
What you'll need:
- ¼ inch drill bit
- Drill press Sandpaper
- Scroll Saw/Jig Saw
Before using the scroll saw to cut out the infinity shaped hole, make sure proper safety attire is being used, meaning hair should be tied back. An apron should be used to avoid any hanging parts from clothing from getting stuck in machines. Safety glasses should be worn. Proper shoes should be worn to cover the tops of the feet.
To start the process, two procedures are needed: drilling and scroll sawing. Since a hole is needed to be drilled first. The following steps are used: Set the speed to normal by moving the drive belt from one pulley to another. Place the ¼ inch bit, then snug the chuck by hand around the bit’s shaft. Next, tighten the chuck with the key. Adjust the table to the desired height. Secure the plywood. Make sure it must be clamped to the table. Do not turn on the machine without firmly anchoring the workpiece. After setting and securing all the steps above, drilling can be started. Set the bit between the two circles at the width midline, as shown on the picture. After finished drilling the hole, release the pressure on the lever and the drill press will return to its original position. The hole should look like the image.
Next, follow the steps for scroll sawing: Place the saw in the hole. Now tighten the scroll saw to its maximum. Turn on the scroll saw and follow the outer lines from the 4 circles. Once the infinity shaped holes are cut, turn off the scroll saw. Use sandpaper to sand the rough edges of the holes to prevent splintering. If possible, use an electric sander to save time.
Step 4: Creating the Light Shapes
What you'll need:
- Drill Bit
- Jig Saw or Scroll Saw
- Belt Sander
Essentially, from the remnants of the infinity sign, create the same shape of the infinity sign, but smaller so that the shape will fit inside the infinity sign.
Create the same shape as shown in the image above. Then drill a hole in the center of that piece of wood, and create another offset.
Using some type of thin acrylic sheet, emulate the same teardrop shape, and use superglue to stick the acrylic on top of the wood. You should end up with two of these; these will cover up the LED's once the product is finalized.
Step 5: Routing the Pine Pieces
The 4 pieces of pine wood will be used in this routing process.
Use a table saw and route the pine wood according to the image above. Just slice the piece of wood 5 mm in deep 1 mm at a time. Mark out the wood, so the routing process will be easier.
After routing, the birch plywood, white acrylic, hardwood, and clear polypropylene sheet should easily slide into the pinewood with a 5mm depth in consideration of the order.
Step 6: Using the Electronic Components to Complete the Product
Since the toy has an electronic element, the 9V battery, the light strips (2 separate diodes), and the positive/negative wires should be used.
Use the circuit below to understand the circuit pathways for the toy. There will be two of these identical circuits, since there are two marbles and two light sources. The marble will be the asset to turning on the lighting source. Or if you want to be fancy and if you're technical with wires and batteries and circuits, you could combine the two circuits into one, so you don't have to spend money on another 9V battery.
Placing the Metal Marbles in:
The toy should have an open circuit; but as the metal marble touches the open circuit, it then becomes a closed circuit. To create that open circuit, the wires should be intertwined with four nails (two on each side of the infinity sign. The white acrylic sheet should have two holes in the middle, shown in the image. Four more holes will have to be drilled on the white acrylic sheet to allow the nail to reside on the white acrylic sheet. Without these four holes, the marbles cannot contact the circuit. These four holes will have the radius of 2mm, since the nails have a radius of 3 mm.
The nails will be inside the smallest circles of the birch plywood. The marbles will contact the nails inside the small circles to create a closed circuit. In my case, I used two metal rings and snapped them in half. Then I coiled the wires together so that the rings would be connected to the circuit.The rings are semicircles that become a closed circuit when the marble sits on top (as shown in the image).
After connecting the nails to the wires, connect the negative wires to each of the LED diode. This can be soldered on or twisted on. The LED’s should be placed under the white acrylic sheet, but must be adjacent to the holes under the teardrop shapes. Use the strong silicone shape to tape the LED’s on. The other part of the negative wires will be intertwined with the nails.
Then, the positive wires that are connected to the LED’s should be twisted on with the positive wires of the battery. To clarify this explanation, this diagram will have the positive and negative wires labelled in the image above.
Remember to place the marbles on the white acrylic sheet layer.
All the circuit work will reside on the lowest layer of the product, which is in between the hardwood and the white acrylic. Velcro tape may be needed to secure the batteries in place.
Step 7: Adding Details
Finally, all the parts can be stuck together. Using the routed pieces, slide the 2mm clear acrylic sheet, birch plywood, white acrylic sheet, and plywood, respectively according to the routing.
If you want your toy to finish very nicely, spray a Thompson's Water Seal on top, creating a non-shiny coating on the product. Make sure you don't spray it on the acrylic though.
You can create handles as shown in the picture, but it's not very necessary (as the children didn't really use them, in my case).
You could create a small battery opener on the bottom of the product (the hardwood). Just drill a hole and scroll saw a rectangular piece. Just place two wooden scrap pieces (as shown in the image) and nail them in the external side of the hardwood. The wooden pieces should be on both sides of the battery. The wooden pieces will serve as a screw holder for the battery opener.
Lastly, you could paint the pine panels different colors to make the toy brighter (if the lights aren't already bright enough)
:) Happy making!