By Yu-Wen Zhang
Crazy Beans Toys are capsule-like toys that roll themselves when placed on an inclined surface. They come in various materials and names. Common ones are those plastic toys and key chains found in night markets, and occasionally a steak house may give them out for free.
They can be made from different materials, such as paper, plastic, capsules, wood , and even silkworm cocoons.
How it works
This type of toys features mechanics of weight shifts. Examples include action figures going down the stairs or Daruma dolls.
The following are steps with simple drawings for production.
This work can be divided into two parts. One is the Bean itself, and the other is the track for the bean to go down. The Bean can be made using tin foil and marbles that are easy to obtain in daily life. The rail is computer-drawn for sketching and built using laser-cutting; cardboard coupled with glue gun are also optional.
Tin foil (8 x 4 cm)
A wooden stick with a diameter of 16 mm, or a marker pen of similar thickness
Small jar (with a cap)
1. Flatten the foil and roll it up with the wooden stick.
2. Push 1/4 of the stick out of the foil and press the foil firmly against the stick.
3. Remove the stick within.
4. Put in the marble and leave the foil half empty.
5. Fold up the last 1/4 of the foil and place the entire piece into the small jar.
6. After capping the jar, start shaking it up and down, until both ends of the foil piece are rounded from the marble pressing, and voila!
7. When playing, do not squeeze the Bean to hard, so that it can stay in the current shape.
The track used for our project comes in simple design, as it is intended for kindergarten and elementary school students in Grades 1 or 2. There are two parts of the track, and the two can be fixed with a square-shaped buckle.
After trying different angles, a 5-degree inclination of slope suits our design best, at least based on what we try here at Wen Create Maker Room. Since the inclination stays the same along the slope, the track sketch can be folded for the two sides to be aligned, which saves time during processing.
The entire project comes with a simple structure, with 10 parts that fall in only 4 categories, many of which are symmetrical. In practice, instructors can first have children learn to sort out different parts for the two parts of the track.
There are some different ways of playing with it, in addition to the original design.
1. Increase the slope inclination and observe how the Bean moves.
2. Separate the two tracks and let the Bean free fall at the end of the track. Train your reflex by trying to grab it.
3. With multiple teams or players, multiple tracks can be put together, where all teams compete to see whose Bean reaches the finish line, which is another way of team-building.
There is a wide array of ways to play with Crazy Beans Toys, such as building different tracks or playing with them on a rounded plate. For those who are interested, do not hesitate to give it a try.
It is hoped that with the sharing above, this children’s play can be introduced to more people, as they can learn to solve problems they meet during production.