Not Your Average Model Train: Self-Propelled Mechanical Toys

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There are no batteries or power cords needed to propel this steam train and a series of other mechanical models, which come in kits of laser-cut plywood so you can assemble them yourself. UGEARS might just be the ultimate gift to inspire future engineers, with its creators aiming to gin up curiosity about about all of the gears, pistons and wheels that make things work.

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We’ve become so used to playing games on electronic touch screens, the inner workings of our gadgets out of sight, that we might just lose touch with the mechanics that have been in use for centuries, the creators say. “UGEARS realized the idea of modular mechanical models in which everything is real. It’s absolutely fascinating to see the true mechanical miracle coming to life in your hands giving you a glorious feeling of creation.”

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Available models include a steam locomotive with a rubber band engine and rail stand, a tractor, a harvester, a mechanical theater and a working safe. Each kit comes with a set of plywood boards with precisely cut-out parts and detailed step-by-step instructions – you supply the rubber bands. No glue is necessary to assemble the parts. A special version of the locomotive is available for just a few more days on the UGEARS Kickstarter, where you can also check out lots more videos of the products in action.