Instructables
Picture of PVC Pipe Multi Toy - Absolutely Simple

My nephew's 5th birthday was fast approaching and I had to think of a gift for him.
A TOY for sure... but what? He likes Swords, Guns, Cars, Cranes, Robots ... and this ... and that ... the list is endless!!
I wish there was something that had  ALL-IN-ONE!!

I spent several days looking/searching for some sort of 'ALL-IN-ONE'.
Not having found anything suitable, I decided to design and build one!
That's how the project began.

Being an Architect, I have worked with PVC pipes for temporary structures, furniture, prototypes etc. They are very easy to work with, to fix and to remove. This seemed to have a lot of potential and looked like the most suited material for this project.

Material Decided! - Now to work out a modular system.
For this, I made a list of 15 to 20 items ... sword, car, crane, tank, guns, etc, ...
Tried to draw them in single lines - 'capturing the character' of each so to say.
Then tried to make them using pipes and fittings.
What turned out was like a Puzzle /or/ Assembly /or/ Lego /or/  Mechano kind of toy ..... 
Several pieces can be assembled or re-assembled into various shapes and forms.
And finally it came out as a 'MULTI-TOY-KIT'.

This Multi-Toy was an instant hit! Kids just got hooked onto it!
All other kids (known, unknown, and descendents of distant cousins) are now waiting for their B'day!!

This is extremely simple to make
all you need is the desire, hand tools and a few hours to spare.
So let's get going ….



Step 1: Tools:

Picture of Tools:

Simple hand tools are all that you'll need!

1. Pencil for marking
2. Measuring Tape
3. Mini Hack Saw
4. Fine Grade sandpaper or a File
5. Knife or cutter
6. Hand Drill (Manual drill is OK) and some drill bits
 


 
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dratman11 months ago
You could build and sell these sets! That may seem contrary to the concept of Instructables -- but many people are neither willing nor able to spend that much time making their own toys.
FlexPVC1 year ago
PVC is not toxic to humans unless they are burning it and inhaling the smoke. PVC is probably the safest material out there. No California has not banned PVC packaging because of it's hazardous nature! The glue can be nasty (and toxic) but there is Gorilla Glue which is not anywhere near as bad. However I doubt any parent is going to give their kids pvc glue to play with, so it's a moot point.)

PVC parts themselves and pipe are as benign as it comes. Please don't use scare tactics on subjects you don't know anything about. The carbon-chlorine bond in PVC is almost impossible to break, and it's the chlorine gas that is the toxic part.

As for PVC pipe being used for water, it's been used for decades, it just depends on where you live in the country. It has a potable water rating from NSF (NSF 61). There is no higher rating for water safety.

There is not a single health risk with PVC pipe and fittings when used as directed. I'd let my kid play with PVC all day long compared to toys we get from overseas which have lead paint and other fillers in the plastic.
Very cool project! Great images and great idea.

Having worked at a hardware store and having made a bunch of things using PVC, I can definitely say that it's really easy to work with, but kids tend to put toys like this in their mouths... It's definitely not the ideal material for a children's toy.

PVC is considered as being toxic to humans and extremely toxic when disposed of in the environment... In fact it's been banned as a packaging material in California because of its hazardous nature and many other governments are considering implementing similar legislature. I would suggest caution to anyone intending to make this for young children.
How does that work with this being made of PVC water delivery pipes, which are the same pipes that virtually all of us have in our homes?
You are thinking of CPVC, which has different chemical properties.
Actually most water delivery pipes are made of copper. PVC has only been implemented fairly recently. Water isn't a very good organic solvent, but enzymes in saliva help digest it. Also, PVC has a very particular smell, they're toxic fumes that are released from the plastic. Finally... when kids chew on toys they break off microscopic bits of them and digest them, which helps with absorption, which isn't really the case for pipes.

I can't really talk about the regulations in other places, but in Canada PVC is mainly used for chalets in rural areas where homes are only occupied for short amounts of time. The fact that PVC is very inexpensive compared to copper might make contractors use it instead though so I guess it depends on the regulations.

You might be thinking about ABS which is used for waste disposal and has been around for a fairly long time. Since they're used for waste disposal I haven't seen any studies concerning their toxicity...

Hope that answers your question! I suggest you do a quick google search if you're interested in the topic. There's quite a bit of research out there, but there's also a powerful movement by industries which use PVC to manufacture all kinds of things.
No, I am not thinking of ABS. I am thinking of PVC water delivery pipes, which these are, and are sold as. Additionally, unless a child is developmentally disabled, it's pretty unlikely that they will be teething on this toy.
So after doing a bit of reading, here's what I've found:
-Contradictory sources stating whether or not PVC can be legally used in highrises, but this is mainly due to fire hazards.
-Sources that state that PVC can be used legally for both cold and hot water, while others say it cannot be used at all for potable water and can only be used for industrial applications. There is quasi unanimity that cPVC is legal for most applications although I'm uncertain as to why since more chlorine atoms in a compound is usually worse for health and the environment.
-Sources that suggest that PVC makes up the majority of all piping in the USA and Canada, which is contradicted by the fact that it's said to be against building codes.
-A plastic industry site that suggest that PVC and cPVC are completely non-toxic.
-A plumbing association website that doesn't even talk about PVC and says that cPVC pipes used for potable water release dangerous toxins into the water.

Not to draw this out any further since it's not really related to the quality of the instructable, I'm just saying that there is concern with the safety of PVC. I won't start flaunting my credentials, but I'll just say that chlorinated compounds in general aren't particularly safe. You can find PVC toys on the market as well, but that doesn't make them benign... just as with lead paint being used on childrens' toys years ago or more recently, bpa in baby bottles.
blah blah, what is not toxic these days? Soon enough you will tell me water is un-healthy to drink. Who cares we all die live it up man.
In my experience PVC is used all over the place in Canada. Apartments, new homes, and renovations- I have seen it used in all cases. The only time I saw wide copper pipes used (you see the small ones all the time) was in an old apartment building.
Exactly. In many places, it's part of bringing older buildings up to code, in fact, toi replace old metal water delivery pipe with PVC. In my experience, only pipes from the hot water heater to the faucets are copper.
Poly Vinyl Chloride PVC gives off chlorene gas when burned. PVC can be made from sodium cloride. Common table Salt. Maybe there is a chemist here that can shed some light on the subject. People that use copper pipe do not want you to use PVC pipe because it is a DIY product and puts trade people out of work. Sorry , this is my opinion. I hope all is big enough to understand opinion.
rabb729943 years ago
You should do an ible on how to do an instructable. I wish they were all put together this well.
BaySpieler3 years ago
Awesome stuff. I made a set of these today. If you remember, I'd like to know this: Is there anything magical about the lengths that you cut other than that they all fit on a single 10 feet length of pipe?

I used English measurements, for those interested, they were.

Extra Large piece - 18 1/4 inches
Pretty large pieces - 12 inches (These pieces were not adapted from the initial instructable, I just added them later.
Large pieces - 9 1/2 inches
Medium pieces - 4 1/4 inches
Small pieces 1 3/4 inches

The notch cuts that I made into the ends of each piece were about the same size as the height of my hacksaw blade.

I'm looking forward to putting some of the advanced pieces together.
Raj Quest (author)  BaySpieler3 years ago
Dear BaySpieler,

Thank you for going through the instructable.
I hope you enjoy working on it.

The lengths of pieces are calculated based on proportions.
I worked on a number of assemblies and then concluded on the sizes and numbers. Take 'Laptop' (shown in step-7) as an example.
2T + 2S + 1M = 1L. Smaller pieces with Ts or Ls would equal the length of a larger piece.

Fitting it all on one 10ft pipe is for 'no-wastage' /or/ 'economy' /or/ 'full utilization' purpose. At the end of the project, you'll only be concerned with disposing off the sawn-dust (PVC-Dust). The 'notch' cuts at the ends of pipes could also be made <12mm or >12mm for a tight or lose fit.

Once the idea, concept and essence are captured, more number of pipes and pieces could certainly be added to build on and on and on ......
Aeroplanes, Helis, UFOs, Forklifts, tents, and ... may be something entirely different.
jgeekw3 years ago
I can see adding an accessoryor two, to some of the "artillary" toys to convert them to backyard ballistic machines ;)
ianheavy3 years ago
I think this is a great project, my grandson's birthday is coming up soon. This looks great. Haven't yet tracked down a UK supplier for this stuff. Had a look at B and Q and Homebase, but didn't see anything there. Any UK based Instructablers know where to obtain this stuff?

Well done!

Ian
Raj Quest (author)  ianheavy3 years ago
Dear Ian,

I did a google search for "1/2" white PVC pipe in UK" and came up with the following result. I'm sure you've done this already, but if not ....Hope this helps

http://www.google.co.in/#hl=en&biw=1440&bih=813&q=1%2F2%22+white+PVC+pipe+in+UK&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&fp=871c8644ce5086bf
MrTrick3 years ago
Fantastic work!

I know next time I go to the local hardware, I'm going to be looking twice at all the building supplies.
hummer_head3 years ago
i don't want to offend you but the pictures seems like they are from the internet and the size is very small to be taken by camera. Sorry for the distrust but that's my opinion. Hope i'm wrong! Otherwise is great. Regards!!
Raj Quest (author)  hummer_head3 years ago
Dear hummer_head,
Indeed you are absolutely wrong!
1) pictures taken by camera can be RESIZED TO LOWER RESOLUTION for faster upload/download!
2) These days IMAGE PROCESSING software comes free when you purchase a camera!  :-)
I'm sorry i didn't looked from that point of view!! :)
cjraabe3 years ago
This is an absolutely wonderful toy. I am curious about toxicity concerns and wonder whether some of the sources stated are outdated. Installing pvc pipe for plumbing is definitely not against code in many places. I plan to make this toy without concern for safety. Great job!
Raj Quest (author)  cjraabe3 years ago
Dear cjraabe,
Presently a lot of toys, inflatable toys, and inflatable pool accessories, pens, tap washers, gloves, and what not .... are made of PVC! Search and you’ll be amazed!

My five year old nephew is already smart enough to understand toys are for playing and food is for putting in the mouth! Hence I wasn't worried. 

:-) You may not vaporize just by looking at or by touching PVC!
BUT you may … avoid making stuff (for example: blow guns or similar) which would necessitate putting PVC in the mouth. Enjoy!
Man, I whish I had a cool play set like this when I was younger
It´s very cool...great idea!!! \o/
Thanks for sharing with us.......
DieCastoms3 years ago
I am disappointed that there aren't already more comments on this Ible.

I think this is an example of how Ibles should be done. Your instructions are clear, your images are great, your examples are useful!

As I read through this, I had only a couple suggestions, most of which you included further along in the Ible (adding lights (or other features) to the robot head, cutting couplers to make snap-on clips, etc.).  The only other suggestions I had were:
* Glue one more bead flush at the end of the handle on the winch.  This will make the aluminum hanger end a little more safe.  Also glue one onto the toggle switch if you add lights to the head, or else use a push-on, push-off (lick clicking a retractable pen) style switch.
* Make a few different shape wood seats with the cut-coupler-clips, or else with sections of pipe permanently attached.  These could easily spark in idea for the child to build.
* Add an Eye Bolt to one of the pipe caps to be used for attaching pull-ropes

I did have a couple questions.  You show a few examples like the trolley (otherwise known as a dolly or hand-truck), and the Micro Scooter.  Know, please, that these questions are asked out of curiosity and interest and not as criticisms or put-downs.
* I had to wonder if these would support much weight at all?  Will the middle of the scooter's horizontal pipe drag on the floor?  
* How much weight will it hold before it does?  
* Would it be worth it to find a way to slide the T fitting along the length of a single continuous pipe for the horizontal span of the scooter of for the 'forks' of the trolley? 

Please keep up the good work.  I will be reading your other Ibles!  This has been voted on and favorited!

Mike, from DieCastoms.
askjerry3 years ago
Nicely done, fun and expandable.
octochan3 years ago
This is fantastic! It's so expensive to get a decent general-build kit of any kind these days! I don't even know if they still make lego assortments anymore.
Ok, now I expect to see the "Adult" version! Pieces make a Trebuchet, a potato launcher, a blow gun, etc, etc........LOL!!!

Great Job!
Exscaly3 years ago
Great idea! Very creative.Nice pictures and photos too!
Well done!
I'm impressed!
laserjocky3 years ago
Genius man, genius! I wish I had one of these when I was a kid. I worked with plenty of PVC when I got a bit older, haha, but this is like K'Nex on steroids! Nice work!
Raj Quest (author) 3 years ago
A Big Thanks to all ....
for your wonderful comments and suggestions.
CDNbiker3 years ago
Great idea - I'm going to build this for my 4 year old
Lamaclown3 years ago
I can honestly say that is one of my favorite instructables yet. It is easy and inexpensive to do and extremely entertaining and engaging for my son.

Thanks for sharing it!
Biggsy3 years ago
I have two little nephews who would love this... The great thing is if someone looses a piece... you can just replace it without having to go to supplier websites and lord knows what!

Great Job

Biggsy
hollasch3 years ago
Ten years ago I made a similar set out of 1/2 inch copper pipes and fittings. One of my son's (then four years old) first projects was a whacking stick / hammer. My wife intervened and told me to use something else. :) I created a similar set. He has a large shoebox full of fittings, as well as a huge box full of pipes of different sizes (3 inches to 2 feet). This set is by far his longest-lived toy -- both in terms of durability and in terms of playability.

Note that there are many many uses for such a set, including bedsheet house/tent frames, blowgun toys, costume tanks, and tons more. My wife and I have even borrowed the set from time to time to mock up furniture before purchasing!

I *strongly* recommend doing this -- it's cheap, fast, and fun.
that is so stinking awesome man!!!!
hobbitboy3 years ago
coool i made one for me and i play with it and im 12
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