A Monument to Joel Glickman: the Founder of K'nex

Introduction: A Monument to Joel Glickman: the Founder of K'nex

About: Hello there! I'm Knex2thelimit. I build all sorts of things with K'nex, from practical items to ball machines. Sometimes, I've even made things that have never been seen before, such as a bird feeder or a monu…

Ah, K'nex.

A building toy that has brought countless incredible creations and years of enjoyment for all ages.

Even here, it's clear how much this product means to us, and what it's capable of creating.

Yet, have we ever stopped and thought about who is responsible for this product?Who originally came up with the idea behind K'nex? Who we need to thank for creating such an incredible building tool?


Hello everyone, Knex2thelimit here. And yes, it's been over a year since my last intractable. Crazy.

Today, I wanted to share something very special with you all. Last year, I was assigned to create a monument proposal and then a prototype of that monument for a school project. The monument had to be for someone who is (or was) involved in the fields of STEM in any way and for something that you care about.

K'nex directly relates to the engineering aspect of STEM. Therefore, I chose to create a prototype monument for Joel Glickman, the founder of K'nex.

This Instructable has been designed to highlight the monument, and show its design and the reasons for choosing each image seen around the monument. This is not a step-by-step build, rather, the steps are used to show each section of the monument on it's own.

Personally, this has been one of my most meaningful projects with K'nex. I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do, and that you find it as meaningful as I do.

Step 1: The Overall View

These are a few establishing shots of the overall monument.

The monument consists of a three-tiered podium built from K'nex. On top of it stands a clay figure to represent Joel Glickman.As this is a prototype, details have not been sculpted into the figure. Below the podium would be a grassy field with tables and stools for relaxing.

The dimensions of the prototype model are listed below.

Height: 15 inches

Length: 18.25 inches

Width: 21.25 inches

The next steps will explain each design choice and what it means to Joel and K'nex's story. Feel free to ask any questions about anything in the comments.

Step 2: The Field and Tables

Ideally, the monument would be located in a grassy field with plenty of space for tables and stools. It would be located near K'nex's headquarters in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

On the prototype model, the grass is represented by the green felt that has been glued onto cardboard for stability. The tables and stools are made from laser cut cardboard, as my school had a laser cutter that we were allowed to use for out projects. The legs are superglued to the felt to increase stability.

The fact that there is only one stool per table is due to space concerns with the prototype. If this were to be a real monument, there would be multiple stools per table and more than four tables as well.

Step 3: The Podium

The main focal point of the monument would be a large three tiered podium that would display facts about Joel Glickman and the K'nex company. Each tier represents a different aspect of the K'nex company, as described below.

The bottom tier represents the beginning of K'nex and Joel's idea to create it. Facts about the early days of K'nex are seen around the tier.

The second tier represents the growing popularity of K'nex by displaying some of their most popular and well-known building sets. Namely, the sets displayed are the Screamin Serpent, the original Big Ball Factory, the Six-Foot Ferris Wheel, and the Grandfather Clock.

Finally, the top tier represents the modern day K'nex by displaying the current K'nex logo and slogan.NOTE: The logo and slogan have changed since this prototype was designed. I intentionally chose to leave it as it currently is, however.

The podium is also shaped similar to a wedding cake in order to symbolize where Joel had the idea for K'nex. While at a wedding, Joel was playing with plastic straws and came up with the idea of a building toy based on rods and connectors.

The pictures are listed from the bottom tier to the top tier, with some image notes along the way.

Step 4: The Plaque

The monument would also feature a plaque at the base of the podium,below the statue of Joel Glickman.

On the prototype model, the plaque was also created by a laser cutter. The text of the plaque is below.

"Joel Glickman

This monument serves to honor Joel Glickman and his product, K’nex. Mr. Glickman was inspired at a wedding to create K’nex while playing with plastic straws. The large podium appears similar to a wedding cake, in order to symbolize where K’nex started. At the top of this podium is a statute of Joel himself, who holds straws in one hand and K’nex in the other to represent the idea for K’nex and the final product. K’nex has become one of the best selling construction toy brands that challenges builders to be creative and use their imagination. The brand has grown since its creation, resulting in new and innovative products. Four such products can be seen on the monument, etched into the middle tier. “K’nex are toys that challenge kids to dream, think, create, [and] assemble,” says CNBC How I Made My Millions. K’nex continues to influence thousands of builders, teaching them the principals of engineering and the design cycle.

Dedicated May 9, 2016"

Step 5: The Statue of Joel Glickman

At the top of the podium would be a statue of Joel Glickman, the founder of K'nex. Ideally, this would be a bronze statue that is extremely detailed.

On the prototype model, the statue is a clay figurine without much detail, as this is only a prototype.

The statue of Joel Glickman is holding two objects: A straw and a K'nex piece. This is to represent where K'nex started from, and what the product has grown to be. I used a micro K'nex piece due to the fact that it was proportional to the figure. If this were a real monument, the piece would be larger in order to remain proportional to the statue.

Step 6: The Podium Structure

If anyone was curious, these pictures show the support structure and overall design of the podium.

Each picture or fact is supported by a panel or two, and is secured with double sided tape.

The large amount of support is, of course, to make sure the model was stable. The podium itself, however, is not secured to the felt. It can be picked up for transportation.

Step 7: Lighting Effect

As a final touch, the monument also includes a lighting effect at the center of the podium.

A light is located in the center of the podium in order to shine onto the figure of Joel Glickman at night and to illuminate the rest of the model. This way, the monument can always be viewed, regardless on the time of day.

On the prototype, the light is a single LED lightbulb that is placed in the center column of the podium support.It's quite bright, and does a nice job of lighting up the figure.

Of course, more lights would be added to ensure that the plaque is readable at night as well.

Step 8: Thank You

Thank you all for viewing this Instructable!

This was a very neat project to make, and I'm very pleased with the way it turned out. And, it's held up well for being over a year old!

A quick note on my lack of activity: I've gotten busy lately. That's really the only reason. School and extra-curricular activities take up a lot of time. Hopefully I'll have some more Instructables this summer.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable, and maybe you've learned something new about K'nex.


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    5 years ago

    This is awesome! well made and functional! :D


    5 years ago

    Original. Would be cool if you implemented some kind of mechanism... but that's just me, haha. Very nice! I didn't knew those facts :) I like the Big Ball Factory, the Ferris Wheel, Screaming Serpent and the Grandfather Clock as "big builds". they were indeed iconic. I would have chosen the Original Roller Coaster and Space Tower myself, but this is more widespread over the years.


    Reply 5 years ago

    I would definitely agree with adding those two! For whatever reason it didn't need cross my mind. A mech would be neat, but I wasn't sure how to implement one into a monument, lol. Thanks for looking at the ible!