My main project is a desktop toy that will consist of three independently rotating concentric rings, with each of the rings holding different elements, again playing up the Kawaii aesthetic. The outer and middle rings will have holders for mylar buttons, the outer ring having buttons of ~1” diameter, and the middle having 1.25” diameters. The outer ring buttons will have different headwear, such as a top hat, tiara, bunny ears, etc. The middle ring will have faces of characters sporting different expressions, such as angry/pouty, yawning/sleepy, and sparkly/gleeful. The inner ring will have a continuous, fun design that’ll be entertaining as the rings rotate, and I would like for the central circle to spin as well, likewise with a design that takes advantage of the dynamic nature of this toy. Below are initial sketches of my vision, followed by a more detailed CAD model with a list of the slot design designations.
I anticipate the mechanics aspect of this toy to be the most challenging and time consuming. First, I will prototype the ring movement with a LEGO gear set, to get a better feel of how it will all come together. Next, I will add small neodymium magnets centered at the bottom and top of the outer and middle rings’ slots, so that they will “snap” into position and align the buttons. Precision here will be important, as I will need the magnets to just barely not touch each other to achieve maximum force, and also to ensure the buttons end up vertically aligned and not slightly askew.
If I find the movement of the LEGO gears to be sufficiently satisfying, I’ll paint them to match the Kawaii aesthetic. If needed, I will look into alternatives such as ball bearings with 3D printed shafts. I plan to also 3D print the base, and add weights to increase its stability.
Finally, for the zoetrope, I will do something along the lines of the below.
This will pose another challenge for me timewise, as I’ve never made a zoetrope before. However, since this is essentially just a flipbook, I am confident that with my Photoshop skills, I’ll be able to pull this off. I am considering some other designs as well for the zoetrope, but I think this will fit well as it’ll appear as if Kirby is running along the ring, and is a simple design as only the feet need to change positions. An alternative could be a flower in bloom, with a hand-drawn kawaii style to it.
I anticipate this taking me several iterations to achieve the standard of movement and Kawaii I am aiming for, so my materials are on order and prototyping is to begin within the week!