For this week’s DIY project, we built the classic bead roller coaster (bead maze?) children’s toy. Continuing on the modular trend, we thought this design would be great for allowing production of a classic toy in custom size and color. You even get to decide how crazy your wires are bent and positioned rather than having to settle for whatever the manufacturer decided. Another great thing about this design is you can use whatever you want for the beads. We provided some basic ones to print but you can design your own or find some other ones you like to further customize the toy.
We initially tried to use filament as our bead wire but found that it was too flimsy to be practical. After trying to braid filament to make it more rigid (terrible idea), we settled on picture hanging wire (14 gauge) which can easily be found at a hardware store and won’t break the bank. This particular wire is easy to bend by hand and easy to cut. Of course, you can use whatever works best for you. We didn’t paint our wires but that would certainly add some additional eye candy.
Given that the design is modular, the pieces will inevitably come apart when moving the toy. If you find yourself happy with a particular construction, we found that using a little glue in the joints, as well as the wire holes, works well to hold it together and increases rigidity. Plus, it won’t fall apart when it gets thrashed on by a little kid.
We hope you have fun with this one and would love to see the bead roller coasters you made, so please share. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us using the form at the bottom of this post or leave a comment on the Thingiverse page, which you can find directly below. Keep it wild, makers.