If you could shake yourself into a dazzling display of idea-producing power, you would still have just that, an idea. Some get lucky and have a prototype, but mostly we just sit on our ideas.

C. Sven Johnson is going one step further with the 100K Stray Toasthed Pull Toy project. He has taken an idea, turned it on to the public and is going open source baby. First, go support the project, then see the process that will make you want to watch what happens and maybe even try it yourself.

Open Source Your Design

One of the biggest challenges a designer (or any person with a lot of ideas) has, is producing and protecting the idea. It’s the stopping block that keeps us locked into day jobs and endless hours of engineering and product design we hate. The process seems simple, but isn’t.

Sven has set up the Toasthed Pull Toy project as an open source design initiative. Using an idea funding engine, KickStarter, to provide momentum for the project, he lays out the approach, the plan and why he’s doing what he’s doing.

The goal of this project is to make a unique, high-quality toy design freely available to CNC hobbyists and small businesses which make and sell wooden toys.

The steps for the project are laid out. It’s the process some would expect, but many forget to consider. It also serves as a great guideline for anyone interested in developing their own Open Source design.

  1. finalize the existing Toasthed toy design
  2. generate 3D CAD documentation of the design
  3. prep 3D CAD model for simple CNC machining
  4. fabricate a working prototype from the CNC-ready CAD
  5. evaluate the resulting prototype and modify as necessary
  6. submit patent and trademark applications (*reasons why explained below)
  7. make the CNC CAD files available for download

From the explanation on Intellectual Property to the insight on CNC and the Industrial Design profession, you’ll get a better understanding of why this experiment is so awesome. You’ll also learn about 100KGarages.com, which you’ll want to know about if you’re a Fabber. Additionally, if you’ve experienced trying to create your own product, have dealt with property rights and have been limited by manufacturing process, you’ll connect with this project even more.

What’s needed are professional quality designs free of IP restrictions and developed with the CNC fabrication process in mind… In the long line of creatives who stand to be impacted by the internet and “sharing”, industrial designers are at the end. We’re protected by process; safe from the changes which have impacted graphic designers, musicians and photographers. The professional design community can afford to be oblivious. But not for long.

Go check out the 100K Stray Toasthed Pull Toys project. Back it. Give some feedback. Help make it happen.

Update: You’ll want to hit Develop 3D to see some insight on community funded design Sven provided on the project.

Full Disclosure: I follow C. Sven Johnson on Twitter. He told me about the project there. I backed it immediately which will allow me to receive a high quality certificate to hang in my garage. You can follow him on Twitter to see updates on the project.


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.