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DIY: Hex Connector Toy

Hex Connector ToyI created this design while learning how to use my laser, it's a good simple project that creates 35, 1.2in hex pieces that can be pushed together to make abstract sculptures. They make a great desk toy or gift because you can engrave a custom logo or name on each piece to make them truly unique. I'll be giving several sets out this Christmas.

This pattern creates about 35 pieces, and the only material you'll need is a 8x8in piece of Plexiglas, which I've been able to regularly find at my local home improvement store for $1.50.

35 pieces is enough to build a 6 inch sphere, or a large abstract object. When I was giving these out as promotional items, I gave them out 7 at a time which is enough to be interesting, but only costs $0.30 in material.

This toy is not intended for young children, the edges are mildly sharp and could possibly be a choked on.

How to make:

The outline is in two portions, the "A Part" which contains the outline, and the "B Part" which contains the logo engraving. Since you'll probably want to put your own logo on, you can use the "B Part" as a template for where to align the logos.
Both parts have crop marks on the corners for testing alignment. When you are making these parts, do not move the acrylic between cutting the A part and engraving the B part, some of the hex pieces could fall out of the sheet and it would be hard to align again.

I'm sure you'll notice the main part of the design has every hex piece right against each other with no padding, so cutting the right side of one hex is cutting the left side of the adjacent piece. This helps put a lot more pieces on a small sheet, but does not account for the thickness of the cut. If the cut is very thick the notch that holds the pieces together will be too wide and the pieces will not will not hold together. If you cut a sheet and find the pieces don't hold together or are too hard to assemble, you can scale the entire sheet up or down by a small percentage.

Once you have the sheet cut you can punch out the pieces and remove all of the 3 pointed stars that the notches create.

If you make a set and make any interesting structures, send me the picture or link, I would love to see all your creations.

Hex Connector ToyHex Connector Toy
Hex Connector ToyHex Connector Toy

There is also a small cut box I created that’s perfect for keeping these in, see Folded Box.

I've also posted this design over at: thingiverse.com/thing:247

Check out the project page for updated plans and downloads.

Hex Connector ToyHex Connector Toy

Print | posted on Friday, December 12, 2008 9:47 AM | Filed Under [ Original Posts DIY Laser ]

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# re: Hex Connector Toy, An inexpensive gift.

What kind of laser cutter do you have?
12/12/2008 11:08 AM | ahahn
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# re: Hex Connector Toy, An inexpensive gift.

I have an older version of the Artsign JSM40: http://www.artsign.com.cn/Productinfo.asp?id=56

It's a pretty common one on ebay, I got mine used. I'll also be posting an indepth review of it sometime soon.
12/12/2008 11:30 AM | jeremy
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# re: DIY Hex Connector Toy, An inexpensive gift.

Y'know...the dollar stores sell 8x11 fresnel lenses that would be absolutely wonderful for this, I think. I would think that the magnification wouldn't impact the laser beam, but I may be wrong.
12/27/2008 3:48 PM | Greg
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# re: DIY Hex Connector Toy, An inexpensive gift.

That's a cool idea, I'll have to keep my eye out for some of those. Since acrylic is opaque in the high infrared band (the light of a c02 laser) there should be no problem cutting it.
12/27/2008 10:41 PM | jeremy
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