In September of 2014, my baby cousin was born with severe asphyxia. He was hooked up to many IVs for many weeks, until, miraculously, he was able to be taken off the drugs and taken home with absolutely no brain damage or possibility of a physical disorder. Coming home the day he was born from school, I heard the bad news. So, I set out on a mission to create a toy that could be played with by someone with a physical disorder at a young age. Luckily, I don't have to give them to someone with a physical disorder, but they're a great toy all around. Using TinkerCAD and Shapeways, I was able to create Smot Blox - a sandbox toy that allows a child's creativity to flourish. For more information, see the rest of this Instructable.
Step 1: Plan
I designed Smot Blox using a basis of things I enjoyed in a toy as a toddler. I came up with a list here:
- Endless builds possible
- Many different shapes
- Easy, strong interlocking system
- Simple and innovative look
- Small, yet not a choking hazard
Next, I came up with how I would incorporate each of these criteria:
- A handful of individual blocks per set
- 3 shapes: cube, hexagon, cylinder
- Small, square pegs and fitting holes
- Clean, white color
- Shapes are 30 mm in length, width, and height
Once I finished my list, I began the CAD rendition of it.
Step 2: Design
I don't have access to my own 3d printer, so I couldn't make Smot Blox too large, as the prices on online 3d printing services are a little high. With cost and size considerations in mind, I began designing Smot Blox. The .stl file has multiple colors, although those were just to lighten my design workspace. The final color will be white for all of them.
Step 3: Give
My baby cousin is not old enough to play with Smot Blox right now, so I will have to wait a while before I can cheerfully deliver a box of Smot Blox to his door. However, I can't wait, and plan to make these and donate them to children's hospitals in my city. Smot Blox are very easy to clean and sterilize, and also very fun to play with. I hope you enjoyed my story, and I would appreciate a vote in one of the contests I am entered in. If I get a 3d printer, I plan to produce even more for donation and gift purposes. But hey, all the prizes are awesome! Thanks for your time!