BAMF2011: Bloxes, A Building Kit With A Nifty Pedigree

Not every cool hack needs to involve microcontrollers, LEDs or other bling. We were initially drawn to the Bloxes display simply because we love a good multipurpose construction set, whether it be Lego, 80/20 aluminum, or in this case, a system of interlocking cubes formed from six identical pieces of corrugated cardboard, cut and scored in such a manner as to form a surprisingly sturdy little building block. They can become simple furniture, groovy Logan’s Run-style room decor, or the all-important kids’ forts…then later dismantled and made into something else.

A elegant concept executed in the humblest of materials…we were already infatuated. We were blown away then to learn of Bloxes’ background: they’re a 1970s brainchild of computer pioneer [Jef Raskin], perhaps best known as the “Father of the Macintosh.” [Raskin]’s son and daughter [Aza] and [Aviva] revived the Bloxes concept in 2008 and now sell kits through their web site. Even if you’re not at the Faire, they welcomed readers to use the discount code MAKERFAIRE2011 (good through June 12th 2011, limit one per person), which will net you a kit of five Bloxes (30 pieces, some assembly required) for $12.63 vs. the normal $15.59.

17 thoughts on “BAMF2011: Bloxes, A Building Kit With A Nifty Pedigree

  1. Does anyone have a template for DIY Bloxes-making? This would be much in the spirit of the Maker Culture. I’m willing to cut, crease, and fold scrap cardboard. How about you?

  2. WTF? 8 Bloxes, $15.59 USD, 6-8 Weeks delivery. Am I missing something here? Eight pieces of cut cardboard for more than fifteen dollars and a two month wait?

    This thing is SCREAMING, “Hack Me!”

    Google: Bloxes DIY

    Many links. Bye Bye….

  3. @Drone: Yeah, you’re missing the fact that each bloxe(?) consists of six pieces, so you’re really buying 48 pieces of cut cardboard at about 33 cents each. That’s still quite pricey, but you could always cut them yourself. That said…

    If you have the means of production, don’t want to wait, or think it’s too expensive, here’s my version. Enjoy ;p

  4. Thank you Phil! I had a great time talking with you! Maker Faire is such a fabulous place.

    On another note:
    I would like to add that there is a trademark on ‘Bloxes’ so, if you want to make a version yourself (please feel free, I love seeing all of the variations :-) ) I would request that you please use a different name for your creation. I would also recommend making sure that your cardboard is sound if you wish to use them as furniture.

    I look forward to seeing all of you at Maker Faire, come and build!

  5. I’m waiting for the next local election to come and go so I can scoop up the thousands of corrugated plastic campaign signs. I think I can use them to make some of these that are more durable and suitable for outdoor use (i.e backyard fort building). Seems like a nobler use of the material.

  6. Raskin seems to have been the second oddball genious that Jobs was able to brain drain after having bootstrapped Apple by brain draining Woz.

    Anyways, i think this needs some way to use larger sheets of cardboard as surfaces so that one can make shelves and tables.

  7. @Drone
    Yeah, you could totally just buy one and trace out the design, then cut it by hand, but you need six flat patterns to make a single box. I have a cutting plotter and have made mini versions of these (In RGB, so pretty!), and even that took a while to make. The reason these are ‘expensive’ is that they are die-cut and a production-grade die-cutting rig is not cheap. Not to mention all the cheap cardboard is being bought up by the Chinese and carted back on empty shipping containers heading back to the mainland.

  8. I’ve tried reverse engineering a template from photos but havent had a chance to run it through our laser cutter yet.
    We get so many old pizza boxes at our hackspace so it’d be neat to turn them into something useful :D

  9. I used to work the floor at the chicago children’s museum, we had a ton of these hellish bloxes. They’re good fun for a few minutes, but don’t let them near children (destroyer of worlds)

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