3D-Printed Connectors Let Your Lego Bricks Talk to Your K’Nex, Settle Their Differences
I’m sometimes downright jealous of how much cooler it is to be a kid these days. Not only do 21st-century get cooler video games than we did and RC toys with built-in cameras, but they've now got a high-tech solution2 to a problem that plagued my entire childhood.
The Free Universal Connectivity Kit is a set of 3D-printable models available for free on 3D model library Thingiverse that allows 10 different construction toys (Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob) to connect to each other.
If you need your Tinkertoys and Duplo pieces to work together, you just find the corresponding connector model, download it, and then print it out on your 3D printer.
The Connectivity Kit is the work of the guys at the Free Art and Technology Collective--also known as FAT--who are clearly fans of devious acronyms.
This is exciting news for toy enthusiasts who don’t have their own Makerbot, too. You can upload the models to Shapeways or another 3D printing service, and have them printed professionally for a relatively inexpensive price. Printing a connector through Shapeways appears to run about $10 $15 dollars, but you should only need one or two to make your hybrid toy dreams a reality--and to make a longstanding compatibility problem a thing of the past.
[Editor's note: I totally need a few of these. Now where'd I put my Tinkertoys...?]
Update: Adam Savage at Tested points out that these connectors could fall into a legal gray area when it comes to copyright. Give it a read if you have a few moments.
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