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Web 2.0 Expo Ignite Talk: Budding engineers design, build, and share their rubberband-powered creations on Instructables Answered

On Sunday, April 15th at the Web 2.0 Expo Ignite session, Christy gave a great 5-minute talk titled "K'Nex Guns: Open-Source Hardware on Instructables: Everyone wants open-source hardware, but how do we get there? A group of K'Nex gun-building kids has actually done it on Instructables; I'll explain how." It was fun, people liked it, and she was asked to give it again today during the Wednesday Keynote presentations of the Web 2.0 Expo.

In light of tragic events at Virgina Tech, we wanted to reaffirm our message and ensure that no one mistakes it as glorifying violence.

The community that has formed around rubberband-powered K'Nex guns is a positive community. They are using their energy to build, document, collaborate, and share their ideas. They help, support, and encourage each other. They innovate on each others designs, and are meticulous about sharing the credit. These are great qualities we respect and encourage. So, we ask you to look beyond the surface and past the rubberband-powered guns to what's beneath. The users' gun fascination will fade with age, but the underlying positive qualities instilled by this community will not. The skills they're building here are exactly those required for a successful engineer, and for a responsible, mature member of the innovation community.

We're against violence, but for innovation and design and creativity.

One of the chief reasons we started Instructables was because we saw a community growing and thriving around open-source designs for kitesurfing. The K'Nex community is very similar and grew organically, so we wanted to highlight it and share our insight into it.

Check out the slides from Christy's talk, here in the attached PDF, and links to some of the things mentioned:

The longer user-innovation talk that this talk is based on.
toulvus'sMaking 3d knex models using mlcad
mepain'sknex tripwire, huge knex crossbow, and XW30K 8-1/2 cm shot Shifle
Most Innovative K'nex Gun Design Contest
oodalumps'sKnex Machine Gun
Trainman 2000'sThe VORTEX
Innovative Knex Guns group
No guns K'Nex group

The K'Nex projects are impressive and inspiring, but Instructables is the platform for for a wide variety of great projects and ideas. Check out some of the other projects on our site: We have other great communities building around bikes, boat building, homemade gifts, micro-controllers, recipes, recycled materials, and many more. Join in, learn something, and share your knowledge with the community.

Enjoy your time here on Instructables.

Added: Thanks to Fumi Yamazaki for letting me link to her video, which includes a brief hello to her Japanese audience (taken at the end of the conference) then a little bit of my talk



11 years ago

Due to popular request, I've edited the post to include my notes from the talk. We weren't allowed to speak with notes, so I probably didn't get everything in, but this was the plan! Thanks to all of you- even if I didn't mention you specifically in the talk, you're a part of the community I was describing.

Where are the notes? I dont see them up there, even though i tried clicking on every link, i couldn't find them. Oh, and thank you very much for the private message : ) I'll get right on that.

The .pdf labeled "Ignite Notes.pdf 10kb". It's an attachment at the end that should be just under the original .pdf of the powerpoint presentation.

Oh ok : ) Thank you very much.

the K'nex gun makers are a contribute to instructables' positive ethos, i think. they are for the most part quite meticulous in their work and achieve simply astonishing results with a common material,and are kind enough to share the plans with the rest of us. When they recommend improvements to one another, they are polite, and the improvements usually vastly improve an already superior design. Instead of glorifying weapons, they are being creative and uncovering incredible things, continously refining and upgrading their constructions for the maximum of performance with the least possible complexity or use of materials. In short, i believe the K'nex-using groups are exactly what Instructables stands for; sharing what you make and how you make it.

yea i think we have come a long wa from simple firing pin pistole to fuly automatic gatlin and chain guns i think alot of thes guys ,like me, want to continue to build these mecanical and enginering creations in our real world job to i think some people (i heard killerk & fuast talking(im working on it 2)) are working on compleatly revolutionizing the knex gun world witih aoutomatic premade cartigis i think wer in order for a bolt action gun like this but im to busy with my m-32

u remember the gun i was showin of on ur site that one its modeled after an m-32 mgl its a grenade luanchger with 20mm grenades and a 6 barreled revolver

I'd join in with the K'nex engineers, but i've only got like 70 pieces all told. If i had more, i could probably make something adequate....i hope

perhaps you misunderstood me There isn't a group called "K'nex engineers" it was more a catchall term for people who desing and make the things we see on this site.

oh i see!! so i am one all ready. if you want more pieces i recommend the 425 piece tub it has gears too and a motor

The way that you present the K'nex gun building community is flattering to say the least, and I feel very honored that you chose to speak out on our behalf like this. What you say is very true -- there is more to this group than the surface level of guns and shooting things. It's not the violence but the fascination that drives us. How far we can push these plastic pieces, literally and figuratively. We have a lot of misguided opponents, who for some reason view this community as inferior to all the rest; they see us as kids obsessed with toys and violence. I strongly beg to differ, and really wish they could hear this speech of yours. We may not be the most prestigious group, but we are everything you say above. Thanks.

Cool! At last...our efforts are being recognised. Shame the K'nexecutioner wasn't mentioned though. I think we are all in for a massive wave of new members!

For me it is not about shooting the things i make(in fact i hardly ever fire anything), it is constructing and enginneering them to make them work and sharing them with others that i enjoy the most.

I agree. I don't run around the house and shoot pets and random things, I build guns and enginneer them to make a perfect machine;)

Is there a video or recording of the actual presentation somewhere? I couldn't find one on the Web2.0 Ignite site. Link please.

why do u people even waste their time saying knex guns are bad

KNEX ARE AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!=0

Gasp, my gun was used! Im so happy...

lol `gun fasinaion will fade with age`im 16! and i still use knex guns lol!

Just wait until you get your hands on a good machine shop- building enormous robots is even more addictive!


11 years ago

I'm sorry to say this, but I'm fed up with those damn K'nex guns! If you have to make guns out of childrens toys, atleast use LEGO! Now THAT is a proper open source, developers material!

It's all about what you like, and what tools you have access to. It's also about having a cooperative community building on each other's designs. I notice you have some pretty good projects, but none of them are made of LEGO. Put some neat LEGO projects up and see what everyone else is working on!

Make an instructable and maybe it'll catch on.

I agree with Vendigroth, Knex Forever!