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Tinker Kits are a series of comics and DIY toys that teach through play.

 What's in the kit?

 Tinker-Kits come in two parts:

Honestly, 

 But really...

Kit #1: "Burning Rubber"

A beautifully illustrated 12 page comic book:

Through a thrilling car chase, kids learn about aerodynamics, potential energy and combustion engines. 

The comic doesn’t sacrifice narrative for lessons; they’re carefully balanced to make it dynamic and engaging. The final book will be litho printed and will contain a separate instructional manual. 

An elastic band powered car DIY kit: 

 The elastic band powered car is easy to make and fun to play with. By building the car and the mechanism that powers it, the kids gain a deeper understanding of its function. 

Our cars are made from laser cut 3mm acrylic and based on the shape of an American muscle car. The kits come with several types of rubber band. Each band affects the car's performance; some make the car go faster and some further.

Tested with kids

Talking to parents and carefully observing the way kids use our kits has had an impact on our development. These meetings have helped us make informed decisions on factors such as the time it takes to build a toy, the level of customisation and the durability. 

We were delighted to see how much they loved it and how a simple mechanism has the potential for so many hours of fun! 

Our kits are aimed at 7-10 year olds, however with adult supervision younger kids can also join in. Due to small parts they are not suitable for children under the age of three. 

Customisation: 

We made it possible for kids to create their dream car! First, they draw around the side panels on paper. They’re only limited by their imagination! They can write their name on it, draw their favourite animal or paint it their favourite colour.

Designed to fit through your letterbox

Tinker Kits' epic journey

We went through several iterations of the car to get it to the point where it was ready to be produced. No detail went unexamined in the quest to make it as fast, fun and sturdy as possible. 

Why laser cutting? 

When building our prototype kits, we experimented with various materials and tooling methods but settled on laser cutting. It allows us to prototype new products rapidly and this means fine tuning the product and ironing out problems becomes a quicker process. This will let us put more energy into thinking of fun ways to teach kids through toys.

Why an American muscle car?

We considered different models of cars but all felt compelled by the excitement of fast paced motors capable of chases and jumps. We watched several films which involved car chases and were captivated by the personality of the American muscle car. This influenced many of our design decisions.

Our current design is based on the body shape of a Dodge Challenger. We've created many concepts to develop new aesthetics in future revisions. Though some designs were favoured over others, such as the bulky car with tiny wheels, not all of them were possible to make with our current restrictions.

We've experimented with the size of the car body and wheels to strike a balance between performance and aesthetics. 

Future plans

Tinker kits are planned according to a method: We think of a topic or lesson we’d like to teach kids about, for example cars, then we think of a story and a kit to teach them about issues around cars and the science surrounding them in a fun way. Moving forward, our challenges are to keep our crazy ideas affordable for parents, to abide by the Royal Mail size constraints, and to make sure each kit is self-contained. That means no chopping up fairy liquid bottles and cereal boxes!

We hope to teach lessons about science, history and art in future kits and are looking forward to building lessons that will keep you surprised!

Your pledge goes to…

Manufacturing

We need your help to reach our Kickstarter goal so we can make Tinker Kits real. Your help will make a difference in the way kids learn and perceive the world around them! To be able start manufacturing, we will need to make enough kits to meet the minimum quota. We will be ordering and hand packing the contents of each kit. Every shiny envelope comes with a personalised label with your kid’s name on it ready to send to your door.

Website
With the help of talented web developers, we plan to build out the Tinker website. We want to create a community for kids to share their work with competitions and more. An online store will be be our main method to get kits out and we plan to update our site regularly with how-to videos and free mini-Tinker projects.

About the team


For the last three years, digital studio and product development company Mint Digital has run Foundry, a graduate placement scheme dedicated to nurturing new talent. It was started with two principles:

1. Don't get graduates in to simply help out on the company work.

2. Look for people who don’t really do what we do, to work on something we haven't done before.

We are the class of 2013 and our brief was the most ambitious for Foundry yet: Sustain your future. In practice, this meant we had three months to come up with a viable business idea and execute on it.

So we decided to sustain the next generation of tinkerers.

Meet the team

Sam Stanistreet is a graphic designer who’s interested in pushing the boundaries of his practice. He approaches product design with the methods and thinking he learnt from his years studying at the Arts University Bournemouth in BA Graphic Design. He’s fascinated by nostalgia and all that triggers it; cereal box toys, old comics and the charm of inexpensive mass produced objects.

Shim Smilansky studied Design & Innovation at Goldsmiths and Queen Mary. He is a self-professed science geek and loves to make things. He’s made sure that the car functions beautifully and has worked with kids and parents throughout its development. This has helped ensure that the kit is not only educational but also a joy to use.  

Johanna Cranston is an illustrator and doll-maker. Her interest in manga contributes to the design of Tinker’s comic books and manuals. She became interested in product design when she started designing posable figures for mass production. Through immersing herself in a field with few defined principles, she was able to grasp an understanding of business and manufacturing through first-hand experience. 


Thank you for looking! 

Shim, Sam, & Johanna

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Financial backing
This project will not be possible without your help. In order to deliver the highest possible quality to you, we need to meet minimum order quotes as set by manufacturers to make this kit affordable.

Fulfilment
We’ve created small batches of laser cut kits before but there are inherent risks in producing in large quantities. Batch tested and sent to small number of users but doing that at scale has much larger implications.

Quality assurance
Careful design and planning is required when creating products for children. We are confident that our kits are safe for older children, however we would like to ensure they are rigorously tested and meet all of the relevant standards. Doing this will require us to partner with an external testing body. Your backing will allow us to take the project to this next stage.

FAQ

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    13 backers

    ***TINKER POSTCARD*** A lovely little tinker postcard printed with a lesson about aerodynamics, taught through an exploration of the humble paper airplane. It shows you how to tinker with a plane's performance by changing variables such as wingspan, paper weight, and fold type.

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    50 backers All gone!

    ***BETA TESTER*** You will receive one of the first "Burning Rubber" kits. It includes: DIY American Muscle Car - Complete comic book (12-pages long) - Instruction manual. This kit has not been fully tested and is not certified for use by children. Buy one of these kits and get the opportunity to be involved with putting the finishing touches on our first kit! If you are interested we would love to hear your input on how it can be improved.

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  • Pledge £18 or more
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    32 backers

    ***KIT NO.1*** Complete First Tinker Kit - "Burning Rubber" In this kit you will receive: DIY American Muscle Car - Complete Comic book (12-pages long) - Instruction Manual.

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    16 backers Limited (84 left of 100)

    ***LIMITED EDITION*** For this kit we will develop a brand new shape designed by Tinker's very own illustrator and engrave your name on the side of the car.

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  • Pledge £80 or more
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    6 backers

    ***BEAT THE CLOCK*** Four complete "Burning Rubber" kits ready for you and your friends to compete in an epic race. This package includes a start and finish line, a stopwatch and a leader board so you can keep track of your times.

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    ***BESPOKE*** This super limited edition kit gives you the opportunity to work with Tinker's illustrator to create an exclusive set of hand painted car designs. Signed by all of Tinker's founding members, your car will also feature the brand new shape and have your name engraved on its side.

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  • Pledge £600 or more
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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    ***TINKER WORKSHOP*** Perfect for classrooms, 10 complete "Burning Rubber" kits will be personally delivered to you by two members of team Tinker. We will host an exclusive half-day workshop full of fun games and activities. We're fully CRB checked and travel is included within Greater London.

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    Ships within the UK only
  • Pledge £1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    ***CHAFFUER SERVICE*** A car crafted from ash and hand painted by team Tinker. We'll also engrave your name onto the side of the car and you will be listed as a key contributer on our website.

    Estimated delivery:
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Funding period

- (30 days)