Lastly, let's keep in mind that camDown is your security solution to protect you and your business from webcam hackers and that's the the real deal.
Are they puzzles? Models? Toys? Sculptures? Yes. Yes they are. They are all of those things. I’m talking about the wooden puzzles sold by Ugears, and I am absolutely in love with them. I find myself talking about Ugears puzzles to friends and family, and I sometimes browse the website like I used to devour the Sears Wishbook at Christmas (yes, I’m that old). These great puzzles/toys/models are amazing, and right now you can save 15% on any model in the Ugears catalog with an exclusive discount for Forbes readers—just enter FORBES at checkout.
Ugears offers about 100 different projects, priced from as little as $10 or all the way up to $150, though most kits clock in at a very affordable $40-$75. There’s something charming and magical about these kits; they’re made almost entirely of wood (except for the occasional rubber band or spring to give them the power of movement), and yet most of the projects are kinetic, able to turn, spin, roll, move or actuate. Many have cranks, gears and axles, all also made of wood. It’s like you stepped back into the 1800s and you’re a steampunk apprentice.
The best part is that while it’s a blast to put one of these kits together—and even the most ambitious models only take a few hours—when you’re done you have a working contraption you can play with. How awesome is that?
Ugears Marble Run Chain Hoist Wooden Puzzle
Take the Marble Run Chain Hoist, for example. One of Ugears’ newer puzzles, it has about 400 individual wooden parts and takes something like 4-8 hours to assemble. This particular kit is recommended for kids 14 and older, but there are a variety of projects ideal for younger kids as well. And even this kit makes a great team project for a parent and kid.
Like all Ugears projects, you need no tools. There’s no cutting, gluing, measuring or painting. The high-quality plywood parts come laser-cut on sheets; just punch them out and then follow the very clear visual instructions to assemble the model. It might not be fair to call these projects puzzles, because you don’t have to guess where any of the parts go—it’s all clearly explained in the accompanying guide.
Everything is held together securely through friction and tight slot-and-groove assembly. Want to paint the model? Sure, you can—Ugears recommends using a light paint like watercolor—but I prefer the bare wood anyway.
When assembled, the Marble Run model features a track to race your marbles with smooth hand-cranks to lift the marbles into position via the wooden chain links. Here it is in action:
And Marble Run is just scratching the surface. You can also make an aquarium—that’s right, a mechanical aquarium with fish that swim around, powered by a wooden motor mechanism featuring a metal spring. There’s a working, guitar-like stringed instrument—a Hurdy-Gurdy—you can build, an elaborate wall clock and a motorcycle with sidecar.
The first Ugear model I ever made? A working combination lock that gives you insight into how real-world, non-wooden combination locks actually work. I’m currently trying to choose between making a cash register and a working “STEM lab” tachometer.
So run, don’t walk to the Ugears site and check out the collection of kid- and adult-friendly wooden models, and treat yourself to the kind of joy you can only get from building something yourself and then playing with it afterwards. Be sure to apply promo code FORBES at checkout to get a 15% discount on anything you buy.
Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website. Send me a secure tip.
Did you know that camDown has a modern UI, that is secure and has the improved features that you need?