Do you remember Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs? Those classic toys were created in 1914 and 1916, respectively, and I feel like they were pretty timeless, given that I was still building brown wooden cabins with green roofs back in the mid-80s. But over the last several years, 3D printing has come into play to help update this particular toy concept with a more modern construction kit.
Meet STEMFIE – a 3D printable educational construction kit that kids (and adults!) of all ages can download and make right in your own living room. The STEMFIE project is ready for testing now, and while its website is in a preliminary state at the moment, it still has plenty to look at, including a link to the site’s first project kit. While it’s not a log cabin, it is still something fun to construct – a car.
“The STEMFIE rubber-band-driven car is easy and quick to build and demonstrates the retention and controlled release of energy to achieve motion,” the website states. “The inspiration for this design is borrowed from science classes in schools, using the mousetrap car.”
The STEMFIE website provides all of the information you need to make the car, which only takes ten minutes to assemble once you have everything 3D printed and gathered. There are 44 parts you’ll need to print in order to make the car – beams and braces, several nuts and pins, wheels, washers, and shoulder screws, along with a few other assorted pieces. Each one is available for download as an STL file from the website, or you can look for and download them from the site’s public central file repository.
Under the website’s FAQ section, you can find what the STEMFIE designer says are the best 3D printer settings for creating these parts:
“I designed @Stemfie3D to 3D-print optimally, using standard print settings on filament-based 3D-printers, such as the following:
Material: PLA filament
Layer height: 0.2 mm
Perimeters (shells): 2
Top solid layer count: 4
Bottom solid layer count: 3
Generic print speed: 50 mm/s”
This 3D printable car construction kit project has what the STEMFIE site refers to as a “vast ecosystem of components similar to traditional mechanical playsets.” The project also requires four different buildplates, each of which is available to download as an STL file as well. The ready-made plates are:
The site also lists the 3D printable tools you’ll need to make in order build this car – a spanner and a driver – in addition to the items that don’t need to be 3D printed; these are just three small rubber bands and a short piece of string.
STEMFIE provides assembly steps for the rubber-band car in large image format, which makes them very easy to follow, or you can watch this short video below to see how it’s done.
For inspiration, you can also find the STEMFIE car available for download on a multitude of other 3D printing sites, including Cults3D, PinShape, Thingiverse, MyMiniFactory, CG Trader, Sketchfab, Instructables, Threeding, and Youmagine.
To quickly receive STEMFIE updates, you can register to receive the site’s newsletter here.
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