[Cultural & Creative Design] Science Found in Toys- Laser-cut Balancing Doll

Recently, Wen Create Maker Room has been studying the science in toys and its application. Personally, I like the series of Balancing Toys as they come in different designs and people can make one by themselves. There are some popular models, such as birds, eagles, dragonflies, butterflies, and other ones featuring leverage. The materials come in paper, bamboo wood, plastic, and metal.

Bird made with paper
Eagle made with plastic


Leverage model made with metal

The following are some tutorials on the Internet, as well as the laser-cut models by Wen Create Maker Room.

Concept for Design

Balancing toys are designed using leverage, moment, and shifting of the center of gravity. There are a lot of related information and articles on the Internet, which people can access by simply searching with keywords such as “balancing toy”, “balancing bird”, “balancing dragonfly”, and so on.

Here are the Bamboo Balancing Dragonfly, which is the signature of Wen Create Maker Room. This set of toys was purchased at a souvenir shop from an old street a long time ago. They make good decoration on the desk, as it tilts and shakes slightly when wind runs by, which is very fascinating.

We did some research and found that there are similar models on the Internet where bamboo chopsticks and popsicle sticks are used as materials. Inspired by that, we thought about trying similar models of this kinds using laser cutting. The best part is that there is no need for gluing or post-processing with laser-cut projects. The toy can work out just fine simply through assembly.

Work Process

The fastest way at the beginning is to measure the model size based on real objects. The purpose is to have a rough idea of the size, so it is not too precise. The following are the basic specs:

Specs for dragonfly

After having the specs, we need to have all the numbers rounded and work on the mechanism that allows disassembly and assembly.

Laser-cut dragonfly- separate parts for wings and bodies

A tenon added makes the assembly so much easier.

Modeling Preview

If you are worried about having wrong specs or design details, it is recommended to use 3D-modeling software to run simulation. Once there is a successful simulation, it is time to start with laser-cutting.

Dragonfly 3D-modeling

Dragonfly 3D-modeling

Assembly Test

Here are the parts made using laser cutting, which are not a lot, so there is no need for a manual for assembly.

At our first trial, some parts were a bit lighter than intended, so a magnet was used to increase the weight.

At the second trial, where the length of the wings was extended a bit, and the stability was increased at the center of gravity, and the work was finally completed.

The original model v.s. the laser-cut version


Creative design has always been a goal for education that governments around the world put emphasis on. Wen Create Maker Room has been promoting the idea of “learning through play”, inspired by the concept of “pleasure to study” from Analects of Confucius. It is hoped that children can learn while playing and form in their mind the right attitudes and ideas for their life. For this reason, we have always believed that although the population of children accounts for only 20% of the entire populations, they will become everything in the future.

With this sharing, Wen Create Maker Room is hoping that through this toy, from its design to manufacture, people can understand the science within, and in turn, learn the steps and application of innovative design, with which people can make changes with based on the original design with their creativity.



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