We love toys. And when you add wood and puzzles into the mix, you’ve got a winning combination. MōFU is a line of poseable animal puzzle toys designed by Yoshiaki Ito, an award-winning, Brooklyn-based designer and craftsman. The toys are inventive, dang cute, and now available in a new Kickstarter campaign.
Yoshiaki developed the toy line over the last few years and described the process with us and the challenge of designing a folding toy that is also a puzzle:
I used Rhino 3D to design all of these animals. A benefit of using 3D CAD is being able to manipulate the shapes in 3 dimensions while drawing. The challenge with this project is more in the physics than the CAD. I have to think about the shapes of neighboring parts to have it form into a cube when folded. At the same time, I need to consider how each part looks when unfolded, to look like the animals’ body parts.
Each part is joined with elastic bands. This connection creates even more of a challenge for the design. Sometimes determining how elastic band tension affects each joint are very hard without having physical parts. These particular prototypes are 3D printed and spray painted. 3D printed parts are very good to test out various parts versions.
There are five different foldable characters in the toy line – Pig, Tiger, Monkey, Hippo, Giraffe – with each puzzle combination having its own degree of difficulty, the monkey as the most challenging and the pig as the least.
MōFU is live on Kickstarter with individual toys available for $38 (10% off retail) and sets of all five for $179 (15% off retail) and quantities of six at $200 (20% off). The ship date is currently planned for December of 2020, hopefully in time for Christmas. More info can be found on the website at mofu.toys.