If there’s one thing I should have obsessivly started making and collecting when I was younger, it should have been small, wooden cars. Perhaps it’s not too late to begin *grabs log and chisel*, but in the meantime there are people like Matteo Ragni who thought it might be a good idea to gather 100 designer friends together and create 100 wooden, toy cars. It was a good idea. The lot of them provide their own artistic blend of fun and function in an exhibition called “100% TobeUs: 100 designers for 100 new toy cars” and leave you wondering what other possibilities there are.


From a stump of wood

I’m torn to shreds I wasn’t in Milan anytime during the past two months. The exhibition was on display at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia di Milano from December 5th to January 13th. It’s not like you could grab them off the display and send them flying down the il corridoio de museo though. Fortunately, you can view all the wood toy car designs online. The idea was born out of frustration of a designer father seeing the disenchantment that regular, old toys had with his children. So, the idea of Matteo Ragni was to give “children the possibility to love an object.” I’m not so sure love of an object can overcome boredom, short attention spans and bursts of energy dowsed by can of sugar water that send toys flying into the netherworld… but the sentiment is nice.

“TobeUs has become synonymous of a way of design and create new objects. And so designers that want to draw their own TobeUs have multiplied. It seems that everyone has in the drawer an idea for a wooden toy car. But be careful: TobeUs is made by two cuts in a wooden stump that always have the same size, so a project exercise that imposes clear limits.”

Having just finished a pinewood derby car with my son, the attraction to a few cuts on a simple block of wood is understood, especially if you don’t have to maintain weight limits or compete with fathers who own/outsource all manufacturing. If the size of the wooden block is the only limit, I’ll take it. I suggest looking through all the 100 designs, along with the Vintage car editions.


Make your own

The absolutely unique aspect of this is not the idea or bringing on 100 designers to take part in it, but that you can join in the fun. TobeUs provides a kit that comes with instructions, templates and even 3D file (.3dm and .igs) for you to download, create and submit your own design. Have what it takes to shape a chunk of wood?


Now for some inspirations. Some of my favorites from the 100 Toy Cars…












Images: Max Rommel


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.