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!
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?
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.
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.
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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