Introduction: Tic Tac Connect

About: I'm an aspiring entrepreneur, currently working on renewable and environmentally friendly building materials project. A designer at heart, just unleashing my creativity on Instructables for the time being.

Tic Tac Connect is a combination of 2 different strategy games, Tic Tac Toe and Connect 4. They are both fun and enjoyable, promoting active thinking and can be played by anyone. The TinkerCad design allows you to play either and games and brings a fresh new aesthetic to the game's presentation.

Typically Tic Tac Toe is played on paper by marking X and O within a 3 by 3 square grid with a winner being the first to get 3 X or O lined up. With the redesign, there is a fixed play surface and tokens used in place of pencils to mark player selection. Connect 4 is a strategy game that uses a 7 by 6 grid and players place tokens from the top which fall to the available space in the column. The first person to align 4 tokens in order wins.

The design combines both games in a redesigned hexagonal aesthetic which helps to reduce weight and allows greater portability.


TinkerCad Account

Step 1: Creating Frame

I started with creating the outline of the frame. Using the square shape tool which was then resized to an estimated measurement which will be finalized later in the design.

Step 2: Frame Cut Outs

I then created the model for the cut-out spaces that will be in the frame using the Hexagonal shape tool. The shape is the resized and placed over the frame square.

Step 3: Cut Out Grid

Once the cut-out has is in place, the shape is duplicated to create a 7 by 6 grid.

Step 4: Creating Token

I then created the basic outline of the token to get an idea of the size it would be. Using the circle shape tool, a 28mm circle is created, the thickness is reduced to 3mm then duplicated to create the two types of token needed for both games. The color is changed to allow easy differentiation. The tokens will be modified further later on in the design.

Step 5: Creating Column Divider

The column divider is created to hold the tokens in place when playing connect 4. Starting with a square which is then adjusted to the length of the housing, it is placed evenly between the column.

Step 6: Duplicating Column

With the column placed, the duplicate tool is used to place seven even columns with bordered ends. The bottom of the columns are aligned with the bottom of the housing and the top is 5mm below the top of the frame to allow the token to easily fall in place.

Step 7: Testing Spacing & Tolerances

I then tested the spaces for the tokens and ensure they line up correctly with the hexagonal patterns that will be cut into the housing later on in the design. Space between each column allows a 0.7mm space on each side of the token, this ensures the token will fall in place freely. Tokens were then placed atop each other as they would in a game of Connect 4 and the hexagonal spaces aligned correctly.

Step 8: Creating Lock Gate

The column gate is created to hold the tokens in place when playing connect 4 and allows easy retrieval of the tokens when the game resets by removing the gate and the tokens will fall freely from the housing.

A square is resized to the width of the housing and then placed atop the housing and column dividers.

Step 9: Grouping Housing Parts

With the main components creating the housing assembles, they are selected and grouped using the group tool. The hexagons are converted to holes and the housing remains solid so when grouped, creates the hexagonal punch pattern in the housing. At this stage, the column dividers are not grouped.

Step 10: Column Gate

Spaces are then cut into the lock gate to allow it to fit over each column when in place. The center columns and the lock gate are selected and duplicated. The duplicate is moved down 20mm and then the columns are widened by 0.5mm on each side. The duplicate lock gate and columns are then grouped with the gate as solid and the columns as a whole to cut the spaces in the lock gate.

The original lock gate is then deleted and the lock gate with the column spaces is moved back in place 20mm upward.

Step 11: Hex Pattern Housing

I then created another hexagonal pater on the housing to improve aesthetics and to go along with the hexagonal theme but also reduce weight and the amount of material needed.

The center columns are hidden using the hide tool which allows better visibility of the work surface. Using the Hex shape tool which is resized to fit between 4 hexagonal cutouts in the housing.

Step 12:

The resized hexagonal shape is placed evenly between 4 hex cutouts and then duplicated to create a 5 by 6 pattern between each hexagonal cutout.

Step 13: Grouping Hex Pattern

Once the design is created, the hexagonal shapes are selected and converted using the hole tool. With the pattern converted, they are then grouped with the housing to create a beautiful design. The columns are then brought back to the work plane using the show all tool.

Step 14: Creating Housing Second Half

With the design of the housing completed, it is duplicated to create the other half of the frame. The second half of the housing is raised to be 3mm above the first half. this allows enough space for the tokens to move freely within the frame.

Step 15: Grouping Housing Lower

With the housing lower design completed, the column dividers and the bottom of the housing is selected and grouped, both as solids to create one part.

Step 16: Top Housing Lock Gate Cutout

The lower section of the housing is hidden, leaving only the upper half of the housing and the lock gate.

The lock gate is selected and duplicated. The duplicate is widened by 0.5 mm on each side and changed to a hole before being grouped with the top of the housing.

Step 17: Tic Tac Toe

The ring shape is used to create a circle pattern which will be the 3 by 3 layout for the tic tac toe game atop the connect 4 housing.

The ring is resized to fit within the middle of 4 large hexagonal cutouts. The token is test fitted to ensure it fits within the ring. The ring is then duplicated to create a 3x3 square pattern.

Step 18: Removing Ring Overlap

With the rings in place, there is a horizontal overlap with the rings. A hole square is created and resized to cut away the excess where the two rings meet. It is then duplicated across the 3 column of rings.

Step 19: Removing Ring Overlap Pt2

All 9 rings are selected along with the 3 rectangles and grouped. The overlapping ring material is removed.

Step 20: Tic Tac Toe & Connect 4 Grouping

I then grouped the rings with the top section of the housing. Both parts were selected and grouped using the group tool.

Step 21: Detailing Token Model

The token's design was improved to create depth, dimension, and reduce the material in printing.

Using the half-sphere tool, a half-sphere was created and resized to fit within the dimensions of the token. It was then rotated and duplicated before being placed on both sides of the token.

Step 22: Align Token Parts

Using the Align tool, the half-sphere and circle token was centered.

Step 23: Token Hex Model

The Hexagonal theme was carried over to the token to create depth and reduce weight and material.

The hex was resized to fit between the half-sphere and the edge of the token. It was then duplicated 3 times around the outer edge of the token and aligned to ensure even spacing.

Step 24: Grouping Token

With the token model complete, the half-sphere and hexagonal shapes are selected and converted to a hole design before being grouped with the body of the token.

The token is then duplicated and changed to a different color to represent the 2 colors needed to represent the 2 players.

Step 25: Lock Gate Handle

A handle is created to allow the lock gate to be easily removed from the housing.

A resized square is placed above the lock gate, ensuring the thickness corresponds with that of the lock gate.

Step 26: Lock Gate Handle Pt2

Using a hole circle which is placed at the edge of the square on both sides for the handle, the edges of the handle are removed and the parts grouped to creating a curved design.

Step 27: Lock Gate Handle Pt3

A hole rectangle is placed in the middle of the handle and grouped to remove material from the handle which will allow better handling by the user.

Step 28: Stand Support

With the housing now complete, I will create the stand support which will hold the stand when connected to the frame.

Two boxes are created using the box tool, one solid, and one hole. They are resized to allow the hole shape to fit within the solid and are placed along the bottom side of the housing.

Step 29: Creating Stand

With the general layout of the stand support modeled, the stand is created using the box tool and the roof tool.

The box is adjusted into a rectangular beam and the triangle is rotated to align with the beam for the stand. The beam is 0.3mm smaller on each side than the dimensions for the hole square for the stand support in the previous step.

Step 30: Creating Stand Pt2

The triangle roof shape is duplicated and resized to be about half the size of the original. The duplicate stand is then placed within the original and aligned to be centered and level with the bottom of the stand.

Step 31: Creating Stand Pt3

Once the foot of the stand is aligned, the inner triangle is converted to a hole and the two shapes grouped. This cut's away from the material on the inner side of the stand.

Step 32: Creating Stand Pt4

With the two parts of the stand created, they are then aligned to place the beam on top of the foot of the stand in the center. A small rectangle support is added to increase the strength of the stand and all 3 parts are then grouped.

Step 33: Align Stand With Stand Support

At this stage, the housing was raised to bring it in line with the stand. The stand support is then duplicated and placed on the opposite side, rotated to be in the correct orientation, and placed on the side of the housing.

Step 34: Group Stand Support & Housing

The stand support and frame is selected and both hole parts are grouped to create one body.

Step 35: Inserting Stand

The stands are then moved in place to fit within the stand supports.

Step 36: Game Time

With the model complete and all 4 components available, we are now ready to print. Allow fun on the go with Tic Tac Toe and Connect 4 combined. I find both games very enjoyable to play and stimulates strategic thinking, great for kids and adults alike.

Parts & Quantity:

1 Housing/Frame

1 Gate Lock

2 Stand

42 Tokens (21 Printed in a different color)

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