Project image
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$3,408
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 12 2014 9:09 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated October 12, 2014

ITSPHUN - Make Geometric Art!

Geometric construction kits for creative play, math education, and DIY decorative objects based on our system of interlocking shapes.

ITSPHUN - Make Geometric Art!

Geometric construction kits for creative play, math education, and DIY decorative objects based on our system of interlocking shapes.

$3,408
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 12 2014 9:09 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated October 12, 2014

About

Our story 

Top row: Cristina, Anca, Mike, Mircea; Bottom row: Paul, Alex
Top row: Cristina, Anca, Mike, Mircea; Bottom row: Paul, Alex
Andrei and Carmen
Andrei and Carmen

We are a group of family and friends. We like math, puzzles and tinkering. Two years ago we designed a system of interlocking geometric shapes and started cutting them first out of paper, then out of craft foam. We took a bunch of pieces to the Bay Area Maker Faire and got such a positive response that we decided to try to make it into a commercial product.

Our products

Our construction sets are appealing and easy to use for building geometric models or for creative play. They can be used to teach many mathematical concepts and are an ideal medium for making geometric art. Compared to other construction systems, our system is:

  • intuitive and does not require force to connect the pieces. Children as young as 4 years old can "get it" immediately and are able to build interesting models in minutes.

  • based on connecting geometric faces, not edges. The resulting object is thus much more evident and easier to build.

  • colorful and visually inspiring; children (and adults) try to build beautiful objects and in the process develop their spatial visualization ability and learn to recognize and create symmetry patterns.

  • light, compact, and good for travel.
  • safe, durable, and affordable.

Aside from the construction sets, we also make decorative objects, lanterns, and ornaments which are based on the same ideas for piece geometry and connections as the play sets.

Two regular infinite polyhedra (mutetrahedron, muoctahedron), robot, gyroelongated pentagonal cupolarotunda
Two regular infinite polyhedra (mutetrahedron, muoctahedron), robot, gyroelongated pentagonal cupolarotunda

Accomplishments

Since the beginning, we have come a long way.  We came up with a name: ITSPHUN stands for Interlocking Triangles Squares Pentagons and Hexagons Using Notches and promises a lot of fun.  We found a material that we like and bought a CNC flat-bed cutting machine to produce our pieces.  After developing our own software to help us create new shapes, we designed several construction sets and started selling them on our web site (www.itsphun.com) and on Amazon. A few stores and catalogs have picked up our products and we are in negotiations with more. We also exhibited at fairs; professional shows; science and children's museums; and math, art and education conferences. Interacting with visitors, educators, and other makers is inspirational. Children continue to surprise us with ideas for models that we haven't seen before.

We continue to participate in Maker Faires and have won two Editor's Choice awards and a Best in Show ribbon for Education. Our first set was  listed in Scientific American’s 2012 Educational Christmas Gift Guide.  We were featured at The Tech Museum, the Children's Discovery Museum, and the CA Academy of Sciences and now we are looking forward to our debut at the Museum of Mathematics in NYC.  Follow our blog for updates on our MoMath experience!

Elongated pentagonal orthobirotunda, owl, inverted pyramids on dodecahedron, another regular infinite polyhedron (mucube)
Elongated pentagonal orthobirotunda, owl, inverted pyramids on dodecahedron, another regular infinite polyhedron (mucube)

Why we are raising money 

Using a CNC cutting machine is not the most efficient way to produce our pieces, so we would like to change the production method in order to lower the costs and ramp up volume. The cost of tooling and the initial minimum order cost are, however, more than we can afford, so we decided to start this campaign to help us cover some of these costs.

We also need help with sales and marketing.  As technical people, we have no experience in this area, so a successful campaign would enable us to pay for this expertise.

Yo-yo, Goldberg polyhedron G(2,1), flowers, pentagonal prisms on dodecahedron
Yo-yo, Goldberg polyhedron G(2,1), flowers, pentagonal prisms on dodecahedron

Our rewards

We have many rewards for you to choose from, all based on our system of interlocking pieces. The picture below shows our limited edition Kickstarter bag as well as pieces from all the rewards for a comparison of their size and shape.

Our limited-edition Kickstarter bag and, from left to right, a piece from a Mini Puzzle (or Hobby Set), Star Set, Polygon Set, Junior Set, Model Set (or Architect Set), and a veneer lamp.
Our limited-edition Kickstarter bag and, from left to right, a piece from a Mini Puzzle (or Hobby Set), Star Set, Polygon Set, Junior Set, Model Set (or Architect Set), and a veneer lamp.

Construction Sets

Currently, we make 5 styles of plastic pieces. The plastic we use is a French food-grade polypropylene called Priplak.  Both the plastic (in all its colors) as well as the manufacturing processes are certified as ecologically friendly.  In addition, we obtained the strict European Union certification for the sets, assuring that there are no harmful elements in the plastic and that the shapes of the pieces in the Polygon, Star, and Junior sets do not pose any danger to children over the age of three.  (Due to their small size, the mini puzzles and hobby set are intended for ages 8 and up.)

Polygon Set

A great set for play and math education. It contains 108 pieces: 36 triangles, 24 squares, 24 pentagons, and 24 hexagons which come in 6 colors: red, blue, green, orange, purple and lime green.  Appropriate for children 5 and older.  Comes with an idea brochure and a Kickstarter supporter bag (not shown).

Star Set

The same 108 pieces as the Polygon Set, except instead of polygons, the pieces are stars. You can make all the 3D objects that you can make with the Polygon Set, if you keep in mind that a 3-cornered star corresponds to a triangle, etc. Great for more artistic designs. Appropriate for children 5 and older. Comes with an idea brochure and a Kickstarter supporter bag (not shown). Compatible with the polygon set.

Junior Set

The pieces in this set are polygons that are 50% larger than the pieces in our regular Polygon Set, making them easier for younger children to handle. The set contains 72 pieces: 36 triangles, 24 squares, and 12 pentagons which come in 6 colors: red, blue, green, orange, purple, and lime green. Appropriate for children 4 and older. Comes with an idea brochure and a Kickstarter supporter bag (not shown). The pieces in this set do not connect with pieces in other sets. 

Polygon / Star / Junior Gift Sets

Same as above but packaged in a dodecahedron (made of 12 pentagons) for the Polygon and Star Sets, or a cupola (made of 14 pieces: 4 triangles, 9 squares, and 1 hexagon) for the Junior Set. Instead of an idea brochure, the Polygon and Star sets have the ideas presented on playing cards. Comes with a Kickstarter supporter bag (not shown). The fun packaging (which doubles as additional pieces) makes for a great-looking gift.

Deluxe Polygon Set

216 Polygon Set pieces in a box specially designed for Kickstarter (prototype shown above). It includes 96 triangles, 48 squares, 24 pentagons, 24 hexagons, 12 octagons, and 12 decagons. The entire world of Platonic, Archimedean, and Johnson solids is open to you. Appropriate for children 6 and older.

Model Set and Architect Set 

Model Set pieces, shown at right supporting a big bag of rice.  (Large, heavy models need to be suspended from multiple points.)
Model Set pieces, shown at right supporting a big bag of rice. (Large, heavy models need to be suspended from multiple points.)

The pieces in these sets were specially designed for our Kickstarter campaign. The are the same size as the pieces in our Junior Set, but they are cut from 1.2 mm thick sheets of plastic while the pieces in the Polygon, Star and Junior sets are 0.8 mm thick. The notches on these pieces also have a locking mechanism, so they are great for making large hanging models and demos. They do not connect with pieces in other sets. Appropriate for children 8 and older. 

The Model Set contains 108 pieces: 36 triangles, 24 squares, 24 pentagons, and 24 hexagons in 4 colors: red, blue, green, orange.  Great for classroom models.

The Architect Set contains 504 pieces: 232 triangles, 116 squares, 60 pentagons, 60 hexagons, 12 octagons, and 24 decagons in the same 4 colors.  You can build all the Archimedean and Platonic solids at the same time!  For other great ideas see our website, www.itsphun.com.

Mini Puzzles and Hobby Set

We also make smaller pieces!  The pieces in the 10 Mini Puzzles and Hobby Set are half the size of the ones in the Polygon Set and are appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Each of the Mini Puzzles contains a picture and the needed pieces to construct the illustrated object. All the pieces in the Mini Puzzles interconnect, so you can use them together to build many other objects. 


Or if you prefer, the Hobby set contains over 400 pieces (144 triangles, 180 squares, and 84 pentagons) at a great price. Comes with an idea brochure and a Kickstarter supporter bag (not shown).  Great for adults too!

Veneer Lamp

The basic piece is a five-cornered veneer star with a hibiscus or a leaf cutout. The veneer is double-sided with cherry on the good face. Behind the veneer stars, the lantern has paper-thin translucent plastic stars which diffuse the light. Aside from the 12 veneer stars and the 12 back stars, you also get one veneer/back star pair with a round hole, as well as a small battery-powered LED light to make your object into a lantern. You can also make a lamp if you buy a light cord that fits the 1.5 inch hole (like those available at IKEA). For safety, please use only LED bulbs! All the pieces are laser cut. Instructions are included. This kit is not appropriate for young children as the pieces are delicate and the assembly requires some dexterity and patience.

Shipping

Since one of our partners lives in Belgium, we can offer shipping at no extra charge on most rewards to the Euro Zone as well.  The exception is the Deluxe Polygon Set, since the boxes will be made to order in California.

Risks and challenges

We do not foresee any major risks, as we are already producing most of these products in small quantities. However, some of the more personalized rewards, such as the boxes for the Deluxe Set or the Veneer Lamps might take a little longer to make and ship. Given that we also have day jobs and that we have limited access to a laser cutter, fulfilling the orders could take more than we anticipated.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    BIG THANK YOU!
    We greatly appreciate your support and we will acknowledge your contribution on our website.

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    Pledge $4 or more About $4

    DODECAHEDRON MINI PUZZLE.
    This is Mini Puzzle #3.
    **Add $2 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    3 EASY MINI PUZZLES.
    Mini puzzles #1, 2 and 3. Make the illustrated objects or combine the pieces into other constructions.
    **Add $3 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    7 EASY AND MEDIUM MINI PUZZLES.
    Puzzles #1 - 7. You can also use all 92 small pieces to construct many other objects.
    **Add $5 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    POLYGON/STAR/JUNIOR SET WITH KICKSTARTER SUPPORTER BAG. Your choice of set: Polygon, Star, or Junior.
    **Add $15 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    ALL 10 MINI PUZZLES.
    All together a total of 160 pieces that you can use to build many more constructions.
    **Add $8 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    WOOD VENEER DODECAHEDRON LANTERN.
    Make a great looking veneer lantern or lamp with the pieces we provide. Your choice of design for the 12 veneer pieces: hybiscus or leaf. (For example 9 hibiscus, 3 leaves)
    **Add $10 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    GIFT SET WITH KICKSTARTER SUPPORTER BAG & SMALL TRUNCATED CUBE PUZZLE.
    Same as our regular sets but packaged in beautiful box made out of construction pieces that are compatible with the regular pieces. So, more pieces to play with in a unique package and for the Polygon and Star Sets playing cards with ideas/challenges. Your choice of Polygon, Star, or Junior Set.
    **Add $17 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    HOBBY SET WITH KICKSTARTER SUPPORTER BAG.
    Over 400 mini pieces!
    **Add $16 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    DOUBLE THE FUN.
    One Polygon Set + one Star Set. All the pieces interconnect and you will have more options when designing your creations.
    **Add $17 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    MODEL SET.
    Thicker pieces with a locking mechanism designed for better integrity when building large, hanging structures. Great for play, making display models, or for demos.
    **Add $24 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    DELUXE ITSPHUN SET IN A SPECIALLY DESIGNED BOX. Over 200 pieces, including octagons and decagons in a specially designed box.

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    ARCHITECT SET. 516 pieces which are 50% thicker than our Junior Set and have a locking mechanism. Use this set to make large, complicated, permanent structures. Comes in a plastic box.
    **Add $60 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    CLASSROOM SET.
    The equivalent of 15 Polygon or Junior Sets + one Model Set all in a plastic box. Comes with some educational ideas. Enough pieces for 30 students. Your choice of set, either Polygon or Junior.
    **Add $80 USD for shipping outside the US and the Euro Zone.**

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Funding period

- (40 days)