Neil's News

Pin Art

18 February 2020

Someone threw out a "pin art" toy. Looks like it had been treated roughly, all the plastic parts were cracked and many of the pins were bent.

I used the laser cutter at work to fabricate new (and stronger) versions of all the plastic parts. This was more problematic than expected, because plastic tends to warp and burst into flames when half the material is lasered away. The solution was to randomise the order of burning each hole so that the heat is evenly distributed across the work.

Manually placing 1,092 pins was a real pain. Many of them also needed straightening. And because of a late-stage design change, I had the pleasure of performing this mind-numbing task twice.

Eventually everything came together. It fits Beverly's hands nicely.

In order to protect it from further bent pins, I also laser-cut a storage box for it.

The biggest question that I came away with is how these are manufactured. It takes about an hour to manually place all the pins, so in order to hit the $1.30 price point there must be an automated way to build these. I'd love to see video of that machine.

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