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$4,171 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By Andrew Frueh
$4,171 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

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Ball and Ramp is a folded-paper marble-run toy that lets you create an interactive kinetic sculpture anywhere your imagination might take you.The designs are open source so you can download, print, and cut your own parts. Since they are made of paper, you can easily modify the current models and create new designs.

Ball and Ramp is a toy for kids or adults. It can be used by young children when accompanied by someone older. But for solo play, it is appropriate for 7 and up. It can be assembled / disassembled in minutes and it travels well.

The paper parts are pre-cut and scored so you can just pop them out and fold them. No glue, tape, or cutting is required for assembly. The paper will be a heavy cardstock to give them some durability.

All the parts are easy to fold and can be assembled in minutes -- you do not need to be a master papercrafter. The instructions use a simple graphic style so the steps are clear.

The Kits will be packed with instruction sheets, a bag of balls, and enough flat-packed parts to make some fun. The photo below is an example of what you get in one kit (colors and designs are going to be different in the production run).

The parts in the current kit are the result of a long series of revisions -- an iterative design process. I first invented the concept when I was working in a cubicle. I was creating small paper ramps to hang on my cubicle wall and using Airsoft balls I was finding on my occasional walks.

Then I took on the task of creating reproducible designs. I began by printing and then hand-cutting the parts -- much like the printable designs available on the website. While I did cut a mountain of parts with a pen knife, I eventually got a Silhouette Cameo craft cutter and the process was made easier because of my digital designs.

All the parts are designed in Inkscape, a free and open source vector editing tool. This allowed me to make accurate and clean designs that could be modified easily.

These designs are the product of countless hours of design work. And it would not have been possible without a great open source gift like Inkscape. I would like to give back in my own way, and as they say in the movement...

“If you love something, set it free”

Ball and Ramp is an open source toy. This means the designs are available on our website so anyone can download, print and cut them. And that also means that the user is invited to contribute to the system through their own modifications and creations.

From the initial stages, Ball and Ramp was designed to be an environmentally responsible toy. The paper is responsibly sourced (FSC or equivalent) and easily recycled. The balls are a truly biodegradable Airsoft BB made by Bioval (this is not true of all “biodegradable” Airsoft BBs). We will continue to be guided by this principle as we branch out into other designs.

Ball and Ramp is a great toy for education. There are, of course, direct applications in math and physics (the classic ball rolled down a ramp problems). And of course there's STEM (there, I said it). Maybe a little less obvious is using the open source designs to teach kids about fabrication, paper engineering, and iterative design. And since the designs are open source, students can download and modify the actual design files and learn from tested models.

You’ll find no gimmicks or flashing lights in Ball and Ramp. Armed only with paper, the student of Ball and Ramp must learn how to do more with less. Simple, thoughtful, creative solutions are the only way to solve the kinds of puzzles you will be presented with in a system like this.

Our Trajectory

We have worked with a local manufacturer and we are ready for production. Our campaign will run in June through July, and we should be delivering your rewards in September.

Risks and challenges

We've worked directly with a local manufacturer in preparation for this campaign, and we foresee no problems. That said, we will be sure to keep you up to date if any snags arise during the manufacturing process.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A little help from our friends.
    We thank you from the bottom of our heart, and appreciate your support.

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    Early bird special!

    One kit (26 parts when folded)

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    Solo Pack

    1 kit (26 parts when folded)

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    Buddy Pack

    2 kits (52 parts when folded)

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    Party Pack

    3 kits (78 parts when folded)

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    Expo Pack

    5 kits (130 parts when folded)

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    Educational Pack

    10 kits (260 parts when folded)

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Day with the artist!
    This reward is a one day workshop with me on paper engineering and rolling ball sculptures for your school or organization. Must be in the Columbus, OH area or be willing to provide transportation and lodging.

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Funding period

- (36 days)