Have you ever seen one of those amazing rolling ball sculptures in a museum? Wouldn't it be awesome if you could have something like that in your own home? Not just a miniaturized version, but a giant sculpture that takes up an entire wall. You've come to the right place! Let's take a closer look at just a few of the fun parts you'll be creating!
You need something to carry the marbles from the bottom of the sculpture back up to the top. That's what the conveyor is for. The conveyor is powered by an electric motor (included in the kit). The kit has enough conveyor segments to carry the marbles up six feet.
The Tipper is great for getting a ball from one height to another slowly. It can also be used to change the direction of the ball from left to right.
If you have several tracks coming together, the bowl is a great way to combine them together. Also - they look great swirling around the bowl before they exit out the bottom!
With the Wonderstructs Rolling Ball Sculpture Kit, you can create your own rolling ball sculptures like the one in this picture. But this is just one configuration. The pieces are fully modular and attached to each other with removable clips. You can create any sculpture you can imagine using the same parts!
The kit comes with the following:
- Wooden panels with laser cut pieces, ready to be removed and assembled into parts
- Motor, motor speed controller, wire, power supply, and wire
- 15 1-inch glass marbles
- 140 small rubber bands for the conveyor
- 4 Metal chimes and string to hang them
- 140 magnets for the mounting discs and supports
- 40 Command Adhesive tape strips for mounting discs to the wall non-destructively
- 1 bottle wood glue
- 6 Bearings
- Phillips screwdriver
- Screws and washers
With the pieces in the kit, you will be able to assemble the following parts to use in your sculpture:
- 20 Long straight parts
- 4 Short straight parts
- 4 Long U-shaped straight parts
- 4 Switches
- 2 Collectors
- 4 180-degree turns
- 20 80-degree turns
- 4 20-degree turns
- 1 Conveyor
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Chimes
- 2 Funnels
- 40 Wall discs with magnets
- 24 Struts with magnets
- 20 Straight supports, 20 round supports
- 1 Tipper
- 1 Large triangle support
- 125 Clips for joining parts together
Parts are assembled from the laser cut wood pieces with wood glue.
Once all the parts are assembled, you will have over 100 parts to create your masterpiece.
Once you have assembled the parts, you are ready to prepare the wall. Wonderstructs uses 3M Command™ tape to affix wooden discs with neodymium magnets at the centers. The 3M strips will not damage your wall when they are removed, if you ever decide to take your Wonderstructs sculpture down or move it to another wall.
Use the level included in the kit and two of the struts to layout a grid of mounting discs.
Now you are ready to build your masterpiece! But don't worry about getting it perfect the first time. The parts connect together with clips - they are not permanently attached to each other. The struts that support the parts are magnetically attached to the discs on the wall, so they can be easily removed as well. It's all reconfigurable! Check out this timelapse movie of a sculpture being built one piece at a time.
Stretch Goal #1 - $50,000 Several of you suggested this, and it was something we had kicked around ourselves before we launched. With every kit, we will include three glow in the dark marbles! In addition, we will include a part that can fit over the bottom of the conveyor to enclose an LED that will recharge the marbles as they wait to be carried up the conveyor! Check out the video of the prototype in action.
Stretch Goal #2 - $60,000 We had already prototyped this one before the campaign started, but then we kind of forgot about it. As we say in the video, we don’t want to introduce a lot of new plastic into the world, but we have no problem enabling you to repurpose something you probably already have lying around that is made from plastic. Introducing - the Fidget Spinner Attachment!
Stretch Goal #3 - $70,000 We really had to work at making sure we could do this one. We took another look at the sheets of wood that are in the kit and found some extra space by shifting parts around. This will allow us to give you a second tipper piece!
Almost a year ago, we were reminiscing about the things we loved to do as kids. The two of us (Andy and Keith) grew up in Tennessee. As kids, we often visited a local science museum - the Oak Ridge Museum of Science and Energy. Our first and longest stop was always at the Rolling Ball Sculpture.
There are lots of toys you can buy that let you build rolling ball sculptures, but most of them are small in scale and made of plastic. We didn’t want to introduce a bunch of new plastic parts into the world. Larger installations found in museums are usually made of metal, require welding, and are very difficult or impossible to reconfigure. We wanted to create something that allows kids and adults to construct their own large-scale rolling ball sculptures, and to have fun building and re-building new and different creations.
Throughout Andy's career as a design engineer working for companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, he has made many prototypes using laser-cut materials. He realized the same process could be used to create the rolling ball sculpture parts. The trick is to figure how to create three dimensional parts from two dimensional materials.
The prototype parts were laser cut at the TechShop in Redwood City, and assembled for the first time in Andy's home. The reaction he got from visitors was overwhelmingly positive.
In May 2017, we took Wonderstructs to the Maker Faire in the Bay Area, and received a very encouraging response, winning two awards.
At this point, Wonderstructs is the final testing stages. We are still making some small tweaks to the parts, but we do not anticipate that this will increase the cost at all. We are also continuing to work on the instruction manual and the final packaging for the kit. In order to make more than just the prototype, we need your help. To make the production of Wonderstructs cost effective, we need a large number of orders. If you back this project now, you will help make Wonderstructs available to everyone, and you will be able to construct your own amazing rolling ball sculptures in your home, office, or school.
Who are we? Two brothers who came up with this idea about a year ago and have been working on it ever since.
"I am a mechanical engineer working in product design in the San Francisco Bay area. I have worked on products such as the original TMobile Sidekick mobile phone, the Apple Titanium notebook, and the Sawstop tablesaw safety device. It all started with the inspiring toys I played with as a child — the ones that challenged my creative problem solving capabilities. I still play with toys, only now with my three children, who have been instrumental in test playing with Wonderstructs!"
"I am a software developer who has worked in both enterprise software and in the computer game industry. My first published computer game was TubeTwist, a game involving connecting parts very reminiscent of Wonderstructs. I later moved to Eugene, Oregon, where I helped create another game involving complicated contraptions: Contraption Maker. I am excited to bring some of the same spirit of those games to life by helping Andy with the Wonderstructs project wherever I can: helping set up the business, advertising, brainstorming ideas for parts, and testing sculptures."
Risks and challenges
We are in the final testing stages of Wonderstructs and are tweaking the designs of a few of the parts, trying to make them use even fewer resources. We don't expect the cost to go up at this point.
We have made the kit small enough to fit into a flat rate US Post Office box, so the shipping charge within the United States is a flat rate.
We have lined up the suppliers for the laser cutting of the wood and parts for the kit.
Still, there are risks with any project. Our suppliers could take longer than we anticipate to deliver the parts. We could also discover quality issues with the parts and have to change suppliers. For these reasons, we are giving the delivery date a long lead time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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