Hacking for Holidays - First Event - Nov 3 - 6:30 PM

We at Makers Making Change are aiming to adapt and gift 500 toys this holiday season, and are scheduling events throughout November. This event will have me bringing 1-2 of each toy I have a lot of, so that as we adapt, we can snap some photos and make guides / tips for other people doing those toys. Other events will primarily be less skilled that y’all, so hoping to find the “landmines” with you this Thursday.

Nov 3, 6:30 - 8:30 PM

Essentially, we take battery operated toys, train youth and other volunteers how to adapt them to add an alternative switch input, and then are looking to gift them to Children’s Hospitals, Childhood development centres, and families with kids with disabilities, this holiday season. We are right now, organizing a number of our “hackathons” across Metro-Vancouver and Canada, where youth will learn these skills and adapt the toys.

Learn more or donate at: Hacking for the Holidays - Makers Making Change

Will bring in food, let me know if you can make it and have any dietary concerns.

Chad

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Need to be super careful modifying toys. Easy to create swallowing hazards etc.

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This is tomrrow! Just bumping this for Chad. I’ve attended a few toy hacks now and they are also super fun and a great crew of people. You do not need to know how to solder but can learn on the night. Beginners welcome. So come on down.

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That friends! I will be bringing a “mix bag” of a few different toys in prep for some school events. Almost all of them sing and dance, which look straight forward to switch-adapt.

I have a couple of “squeeze” to make noise ones – Baby Yoda, Peppa Pig, and Blippi – those are new so should be fun.

For the brave, I have a motorized nerf gun that is out of my depth, so if someone has the guts, would love some insight!

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A small sample…





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Using this thread to document toys hacking process.
First up: baby yoda (the child from Mandalorian ™) the sound FX is extremely cursed though. :skull:

I forgot to take photo of extracting the electronics from the plushie, but that is helpfully diagrammed with the toy user guide

need: female mono jack cable, wire stripper, Phillip screw driver, zip tie, soldering iron and solder

remove the battery cover, battery and two screws holding the two halves together. careful with the springs inside, they have a tendency to yeet themselves across the table/floor.


thread the cut end of the of the cable through the opening on the speaker half as shown.


thread the wire under the PCB and loop back up on the IC chip side.
you should strip the cable and trim to length at this point.
you will need to trim back the shielding wires

solder the wires as shown in photo

use zip tie to anchor the cable to the plastic casing as shown.

close everything up. test before inserting back into the plushie

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Next up is the Rave Santa,
needs, Phillip screw driver, utility knife, mono jack, two piece of 18awg/20awg wire ~6 cm in length. wire stripper, soldering iron and solder
remove batteries
you only need to open up the left foot (double batteries side) you may need to cut the zap strap to lift up the fabric


cut off the piece of plastic on the heel side of the sole as shown.

cut a notch in the heel big enough to accommodate the jack

forgot to take photo, but solder the wired between each lead of the button and the leads of the jack furthest apart.

sandwich the jack in and screw the bottom back on.

thread new zap strap through the fabric and cover up the plastic. don’t over tighten the zap strap, make sure you have room to plug in a jack.

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