When I was a child, there was something really intriguing about building, assembling, and connecting things together. I don’t know what it is, but it seems as though all children are born with this desire. Whether it is Legos, Dominos, K’nex or another type of connectable toy, you can usually find one of these construction-type sets within any kid’s toy box. For me, I was obsessed with a game called “Barrel of Monkeys“. Surely you have seen these before; they are the flat plastic monkeys which could be connected to one another by linking their arms together. It’s actually a game, where the goal is to link 12 of them together in order to win, but for me, I got more of a kick out of combining sets and creating different types of designs by linking as many of these little guys together as I could.
This was a toy of the 90s though, not something I commonly see when I walk into a toy store today. They’ve been replaced by high quality video games, miniature computers, and intricately detailed action figures. However, if one man has his way, there may be a 21st century version of “Barrel of Monkeys” on their way, and guess what! You can 3D print them at home!
David Hagemann, a video game developer for Toco Games has come up with a new little 3D printable toy called the Linkling. You can’t just have one of these toys though, you need multiple Linklings to really begin having fun.
“They idea for them came just from me thinking a lot about ball joints and how to simplify and embed them more as a part of a design instead of being something that disturbs the look like it often does with action figures,” Hagemann tells 3DPrint.com. “I then just designed them in 3Ds Max, just guessing what could work with the clunging and then rapidly prototyped a lot of iterations.”
Hagemann went through several iterations of all different sized Linklings before coming up with a size that seemed to work the best. Linklings, when completely 3D printed, are designed in such a way that each Linkling’s hands fit perfectly around the rounded body/head any any other Linkling, just like how normal ball joints function. There is no limit to the amount of Linklings that can be linked together, nor the differet types of creations that can manifest by combining them. Hagemann has created things such as large towers, cute bracelets, and unique chain rings, but the possibilities are really endless.
“It is just a project I made for the fun of it and [out of] curiosity, but it would be also great if they could reach a wider audience outside of the hobbyist 3D printing scene,” says Hagemann
While the designs are free to download and print yourself on Thingiverse, and individual 3D printed Linklings are available to purchase from Shapeways, Hagemann thinks that perhaps a toy company would be interested in making these an actual toy. He asks that any interested parties contact him via email at David[at]vitamin3d.com.
Hageman considers himself a 3D printing addict, even though he has only had his UP! Mini 3D printer for about one and a half months so far. While his 3D printing and design skills are quite impressive, his creativity, when it comes to naming his creations, leave a lot to be desired for. The orginal name for his Linklings was “Sh*theads”, but he realize that this probably wasn’t a very good name for a toy. So, he hit Reddit, asking others to help him name these cute little critters.
“I got a lot of great ideas there, but ‘Linklings’ combines it all with being catchy, fitting to what they do and being cute,” Hagemann tells us.
I know one thing for sure. I wish I would have had these little critters to play with when I was a child. What do you think? Do you like Hagemann’s design? Have you 3D printed any of these toys yet? Discuss in the Linklings forum thread on 3DPB.com.