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$3,581 pledged of $45,000 goal
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By Will Petillo
$3,581 pledged of $45,000 goal
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About this project

I wonder what happens when I put an LED in one of these...
I wonder what happens when I put an LED in one of these...
A robot and palm tree, built with Bit-Blocks.  Notice how they build in all directions, rather than being restricted to stacking one on top of another.
A robot and palm tree, built with Bit-Blocks. Notice how they build in all directions, rather than being restricted to stacking one on top of another.

When I was little, I loved playing with building blocks. The freedom to build a world from my imagination, and then tell its story, made it the perfect toy. Well, almost perfect. Sometimes, when I was halfway through building my castle, I discovered that the walls just weren’t big enough (they never were). I was stuck with either tearing the walls apart and rebuilding, or just being content with what I had. And I accumulated so many different pieces (which I could never organize)…it felt like for every minute I spent building, I spent ten minutes looking for that one piece I wanted!

The first Bit-Blocks ever made
The first Bit-Blocks ever made

When I got older, I traded my blocks for bigger toys…mostly swords. I didn’t get back into building blocks until I discovered a little computer game called MineCraft. It was awesome in so many ways, but what I liked best about it was how easy it was to build things. No searching through giant disorganized buckets, no restrictions to only building up and down; whatever I wanted to make, I could just start building and have it done in no time. So I wondered: why can’t I do this in real life? Why aren’t there physical blocks—that I can hold in my hand and share with friends—that can build with the freedom and ease that I experienced in MineCraft?

The second-generation prototypes, in which I experimented with peg/hole dimensions.  It was while playing with this set that I discovered the orientation paradox.
The second-generation prototypes, in which I experimented with peg/hole dimensions. It was while playing with this set that I discovered the orientation paradox.

Then, one day, for reasons that are a story of their own, I decided I that I needed to come up with an invention. And that’s when the thoughts that had gradually accumulated in my subconscious finally came out.  Even though it was well past midnight and I get to work early the next morning, I had to test it out. I drew the pattern I had in mind on paper, folded the paper into cubes, and held the cubes next to each other at every possible angle. The geometry worked perfectly! The pegs on every side matched to the holes on every side of another block, and those connections could be repeated outward in all directions indefinitely.

An alternate design for the Bit-Block.  The fit is fantastic, but the pegs are fragile and the design would be very difficult to mold.
An alternate design for the Bit-Block. The fit is fantastic, but the pegs are fragile and the design would be very difficult to mold.

Well, I couldn’t possibly stop there; I had to see if the idea would work with actual blocks. I got a 3D printer, taught myself the basics of 3D modeling software, and started printing. Success! Well, sort of. The concept worked, but the 3D prints were not high enough quality to make anything really big and interesting that did not rely on gravity to stay together. They were also slow to make. But these early prototypes gave me an excellent chance to play with some details of the design and better understand what it takes to make a perfect fit. Now, at last, I have a finalized design. It is remarkably similar to those first paper cutouts I made so many months ago, but with lots of subtle improvements that will make a world of difference. Now it is time to see how the world responds.

A prototype of the final design made on a home 3D printer.  Added moats around and holes inside of the pegs to enhance mechanical compression.  Also added tunnels through the block to enhance moldability.
A prototype of the final design made on a home 3D printer. Added moats around and holes inside of the pegs to enhance mechanical compression. Also added tunnels through the block to enhance moldability.
I am working with a local engineer to create the mold for this project.  The mold will be constructed outside of the U.S. and then shipped to a manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon for manufacturing.  I will personally manage the packaging, shipping, and other reward fulfillment once the blocks are finished.

ATTRIBUTIONS: Music by audionautix.com, found on the Free Music Archive. The songs are "Thingamajig" and "Tennessee Hayride" by Jason Shaw. Good stuff!

Risks and challenges

In order to bring the Bit-Block into reality, I’m going to need some help. Manufacturing a quality product that has never been made before at a large scale is an inherently complex and risky endeavor. The blocks will need to be made at extremely close tolerances to maintain a consistent fit.

But making a mold for a six sided part is far from simple. After investigating several different manufacturing methods, I have chosen a molding solution that will be more expensive up-front, but that I believe will provide the highest quality product and also be the most economical in the long run.

Ultimately, it comes down, "measure twice; cut once." I have tested my design over many iterations of prototypes, playing with various dimensions to get as close to the perfect fit as possible with 3D-printed designs. I will also be working with professional engineers who will run computerized mold-fill analyses before starting construction on the mold.

I admit that I am inexperienced in the worlds of business and manufacturing—it’s all new to me. But I am also cautious, diligent, and committed to doing everything I can to make this project succeed. There’s a first time for everything and its early adopters like you that make the dreams of innovation possible. Thank you.

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    Thank you for supporting our project! You will be added to our Kickstarter updates list.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Thank you for supporting our project! You will receive a digital photograph of the first manufactured set of Bit-Blocks by Email. You will also be added to our Kickstarter updates list.

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    Thank you for supporting our project! You will receive a signed photograph of the first manufactured set of Bit-Blocks by mail. You will also be added to our Kickstarter updates list.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Your own Sampler set of first edition Bit-Blocks. Includes: 4 red blocks, 4 blue blocks, 4 yellow blocks, and 4 green blocks (16 total). Includes $10 tier rewards. U.S. shipping included.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    CROWD-SURFING SANTA: For each person who backs at this reward, I will deliver a set of 15 red blocks, 15 blue blocks, 15 yellow blocks, and 15 green blocks (60 total) to a local children's organization in your name. Includes $10 tier rewards.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Your own Mini set of first edition Bit-Blocks. Includes: 10 red blocks, 10 blue blocks, 10 yellow blocks, and 10 green blocks (40 total). Includes $10 tier rewards. U.S. shipping included.

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    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    Your own Basic set of first edition Bit-Blocks. Includes: 20 red blocks, 20 blue blocks, 20 yellow blocks, and 20 green blocks (80 total). Includes $10 tier rewards. U.S. shipping included.

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Your own Advanced set of first edition Bit-Blocks. Includes: 40 red blocks, 40 blue blocks, 40 yellow blocks, and 40 green blocks (160 total). Includes $10 tier rewards. U.S. shipping included.

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    Your own Epic set of first edition Bit-Blocks. Includes: 80 red blocks, 80 blue blocks, 80 yellow blocks, and 80 green blocks (320 total). Includes $10 tier rewards. U.S. shipping included.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    All of the rewards from the $180 tier, plus 1 guaranteed Silver colored Bit-Block. This block is a rare collector's item--only 1 in 2,400 blocks in other sets, during and after Kickstarter, will be the unique Silver color and this offer will not be made again. Backers at this tier will also receive a thank-you call from the inventor.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the rewards from the $180 tier, plus 1 guaranteed Gold colored Bit-Block. This block is a very rare collector's item--only 1 in 800,000 blocks in other sets will be the unique Gold color and this offer will not be made again. Backers at this tier will also receive a Skype conversation with the inventor.

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    Pledge $501 or more About $501

    All of the rewards of the $500 tier, plus one of the original prototype blocks used in the opening Kickstarter video, made on a 3d printer.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    All of the rewards from the $180 tier, plus 1 guaranteed Blue Diamond colored Bit-Block. This block is an ultra rare collector's item--only 1 in 4,000,000 blocks in other sets, during and after this Kickstarter, will be the unique Blue Diamond color and this offer will not be made again. Backers at this tier will also receive a phone call or Skype conversation with the inventor.

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    Pledge $1,001 or more About $1,001

    All of the rewards from the 1,000 tier, plus one of the following (selected at random): (A) the first Bit-Block ever created (B) all seven blocks from the second prototype run (C) two large Bit-Blocks of an alternative design (D) the first (and currently only) Conversion Block ever made. Each of these unique rewards will come with a written note describing the role those blocks had in the evolution of the Bit-Block design.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Your own Legendary set of first-edition Bit-Blocks, including 640 red blocks, 640 blue blocks, 640 green blocks, 640 yellow blocks, 160 silver colored blocks, 40 gold colored blocks, 10 Blue Diamond colored blocks, and 640 blocks of a color of your choice (I will provide a list of options in the ending survey). 1 block of the color you chose will go to every other person who has backed this project at the $30 tier or higher. I will deliver an Epic set of Bit-Blocks to a children's organization in your name. Finally, the inventor will fly out to deliver your reward, spend a day building with you, show you some of the best practices of building with Bit-Blocks, and explain the secret behind the trick in the "Bit-Blocks Magic" update.

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Funding period

- (30 days)