Get our free book (in Spanish or English) on rainwater now - To Catch the Rain.
Redwood Discovery Museum inspirograph
The purpose of this project was to create an interactive exhibit based on the original children's Spirograph toy using both new and upcycled materials. The design was to be a table top spirograph system that children could use to create geometric patterns on paper that they could take home with them.
Team BlackBox is a team of four students in Lonny Grafman's Engineering Design course (ENGR 215)for the Fall 2017 semester at Humboldt State University. The team consists of Alex Cody-Prentice, Keann Kline, Aren Page and Ish Tripp. The client that Team BlackBox collaborated with is Redwood Discovery Museum, an educational, non-profit children’s museum located in Eureka, California. The Redwood Discovery Museum educates young children in Humboldt County through fun exhibits intended for ages 3-8, incorporating the foundations of science, arts, and general health. Toy-maker and founder of the Redwood Discovery Museum, Ken Pinkerton, has hand-crafted many of the exhibits on display and has had a long-time passion for crafting toys with a philosophy of hands-on education by minimizing exposure to digital screens.
The Redwood Discovery Museum did not previously have a spirograph exhibit but they desired one. The primary objective of the project was to create a table top version of a traditional spirograph that is safe, fun and inspiring for children ages 3-8.
Below is a table of criteria for the Inspirograph. Each criterion is weighted on a scale of one to ten to determine its degree of importance.
|Appeal||5||Multiple color options available for writing tool.|
|Operation & Maintenance||8||Must be less than $1.00/per day.|
|Ease of use||8||Must be easy to use by children ages 3-8.|
|Durability||9||Must last longer than one year.|
|Education||9||Must be understood by users ages 3-8.|
|Safety||10||Must be safe for children using ASTM Toy Safety Standards guidelines.|
|Cost||7||Expenses must not exceed a total of $500.|
Description of final project
The Inspirograph is a larger upcycled tabletop version of a traditional children's toy spirograph design. The table stands at 28 inches high, which adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act making it accessible for children of all backgrounds. The Inspirograph design implements a variety of upcycled materials. Upcycled materials are reinvented parts from previous use in order to prolong the life of these resources and reduce the amount of material from being thrown away. The Inspirograph uses re-purposed bicycle components to create the gears of the system while implementing a salvaged table for the system and salvaged plywood.
|Quantity||Material||Source||Cost ($)||Total ($)|
|1||Screws, Drill Bits, felt pads, pens||Ace Hardware||23.46||23.46|
|1||Plywood||Pierson's Building Supply||11.83||11.83|
|1||Brackets, Hinges, Epoxy, Screws||Ace Hardware||33.39||33.39|
|1||Dowels & Hooks||Walmart||4.17||4.17|
|1||Galvenized Steel Piping||Ace Hardware||66.46||66.46|
|1||Corner Braces, Hinge Covers, PVC Caps||Ace Hardware||8.20||8.20|
|1||Epoxy, Wood Plugs||Ace Hardware||18.41||18.41|
|1||Sand Paper||Ace Hardware||6.34||6.34|
|1||Rubber Grommets||Ace Hardware||24.98||24.98|
|1||Felt Tip Markers||CVS||7.37||7.37|
|1||Hacksaw Blades||Ace Hardware||6.49||6.49|
|1||Salvaged Bike Parts||Arcata Scrap & Salvage||10.85||10.85|
The Redwood Discovery Museum now has an Inspirograph to add to their collection of exhibits. Not all children know how to express their artistic ability using a standard writing tool and paper. Yet, the Inspirograph allows children to make beautiful geometric designs with simple instruction.
The Inspirograph was designed and constructed to be durable. The life of the system is estimated to be 20 years. It was determined that the Inspirograph will undergo approximately 10 uses per business day. Given that markers and paper will be the primary components for upkeep, the estimated operation and maintenance cost will be roughly $200.00 per year. Figure 5-2 provides a breakdown of the operation and maintenance costs.
|Material||Annual Cost ($)|
|Paper orientation is wrong||Lift the top surface then use both hands to pull the paper across the bottom surface. Gently drop top surface back down onto paper to secure.|
|Inner cog is not connecting with outer cog||Gently press the cog against the outer cog to ensure the teeth of the inner cog are locking into the chain on the outer cog.|
For complex issues, please contact Ken Pinkerton.
Discussion and next steps
The results of building the design concluded that the Inspirograph will serve as a fun and inspirational exhibit for children to expand their creative learning. The system is safe, sturdy and able to withstand the ravages of time. It has been deemed simple to use and likely to expand a child’s cognitive learning by offering the ability to make artistic geometric patterns with ease.