Free Universal Construction Kit Bridges Generations of Toys
Article by Urbanist, filed under Products & Packaging in the Design category.

LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys … what do they have in common? They each represent a universe of constructive possibilities, but each is incompatible with the next, like alien planets with their own unique atmospheres. Until now, that is.

With the advent of 3D printing technology, individuals can now print their own pieces and connect the dots (and logs and bricks) between ten disparate worlds of childhood fun: Lego®, Duplo®, Fischertechnik®, Gears! Gears! Gears!®, K’Nex®, Krinkles®, Bristle Blocks®, Lincoln Logs®, Tinkertoys®, Zome®, ZomeTool® and Zoob®.

Adapters can be downloaded from Thingiverse.com and other sharing sites as a set of 3D models in .STL format, suitable for reproduction by personal manufacturing devices like the Makerbot (an inexpensive, open-source 3D printer).

“The Free Universal Construction Kit is a collection of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to mate with any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems — enabling radically hybrid Constructivist play and the creation of heretofore impossible designs. (For example, one of the pieces adapts Legos® to Tinkertoys®.) As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet, or unmeetable, by corporate interests.”

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