September 7th: 6pm Toy Hacking - Quack Quack! and Zoom Zoom!

Play with toys, take them apart, and have fun soldering, plus you’ll be helping kids play too!

To be completed by: Sept 7th, but sign up now as they go fast. Will host a night on Sept 7th for those that want to do them together / wrap things up.
To Sign Up: Respond to this thread with the type and number of toys you commit to hacking. Let me know if you are going to take and have done for Sept 7th, or do it as part of event on Sept 7th.

Why Hack Toys?
Adapted toys for kids with disabilities are often very expensive. Makers Making Change has helped many partners, in adapting toys to add a parallel circuit that accepts 3.5 mm switch input, a common assistive technology connection type. These Toys were purchased by the BC Centre for Child Development in Surrey and is used with kids in their programming.

What’s involved?
Just a few hours of your time, whenever you want, at vhs or at home. You’ll:

  • pick up toys and parts at VHS
  • take toys apart and put them back together
  • do some light soldering and wiring to add a 3.5 mm jack.
  • place jacks for adapted switches that can be easily activated by kids
  • work at home or at vhs (note: vhs tools stay at vhs)
  • return completed toys to the VHS Furnace Room

But what if I can’t solder?
Don’t worry, we can get you started. Just respond to this thread if you’re interested.

And now…here are our toys! Movement is the theme in this batch!

Quack Quack: The stair climbing ducks - there are two versions of the Duck Toys, but same idea: a switch press would have the ducks climb the stairs, and then slide down. I have 3 of version A, and 5 of version B. Bonus points if you put a mute button on this lol! This toy has not been done before so there are no instructions, but should be a simple adaption of adding a single 3.5 mm jack to control the stairs. Here is toy in action (this is “Duck B” version).

Zoom Tubes
This is a fun one, and I have two that need to be adapted. It is adding two 3.5 mm jacks to the controller, so someone can make the “car” go forward or backward in the track. We have instructions for the Zoom Tube mod, the working area is small but a very do-able adaption. You can see the toy commercial below, and good news is :

If you are interested in helping out, please:

  • Say what toy you will do
  • Pick it up and have done by Sept 7
  • Or, confirm you will join me on Sept 7 at 6 PM for a group hack (there will be ice cream)

We can log / track on the MMC Vancouver Chapter tracking sheet, on the 2022-Aug sheet, Just put your name on Row 22, pick the


I’ll do some quack-quacks. I can have them done and delivered by Sept 2nd. Added myself to the tracking sheet.

Just to be clear on what needs to be done is to add a jack for an external on-off switch? Or is it more of one-shot push button (one push means one trip down the slide)?

I guess I need to read up some more on the mmc website.

1 Like

Thanks @hectorh Hector! In the MMC bin (in the beaver room) there are switches. Essentially, when switch is depressed, the toy goes live, and when the the pressure is lifted, it goes off. The toy as is right now functions “on is on” so this may get tackled a couple different ways, but essentially wiring in parrellel to the on/off switch should work well.


Got it … super easy.

For the sound, I’ll just set it up so that if there is something plugged into the “mute” jack, the speaker/buzzer will be disconnected.

1 Like

Amazing! Thanks so much Hector!!!

Yay! Happy there is another hack night to join in on. Ivana and I are in to hack a toy each on the night of the 7th at VHS. We have also recruited another friend for the night, so we can take 3 of the duck toys. No preference on which. I’ll add us to the tracking list.


Edit: looks like the ducks are gone except for 1. We will do one duck and the 2 zoom tubes!

1 Like

I can let you and crew stay ducky! No problem!

1 Like

Bonus item! Dropped off some Bubble blowers at Centre for Ability on my way and they are hoping to have this little fan adapted as well. Looks like internal lipo battery.

1 Like

And in the Beaver Dungeon, more toys are found that need some female mono jack love! Two Rays and a drum kit!

Adding to spreadsheet. Ducks and Zoom Tubes are priority for me, as those have been specifically requested, but all adapted toys are loved toys.

Okay final note for now! There are two bins in that Beaver Den room marked MMC. One has the new toys, as well as AA batteries - you’ll need them!

The other bin has parts, including female mono jacks and female mono cables. You’ll need those as well.

There are also a couple of switches in that bin so you can test your hack. :slight_smile:

Thank you as always!

1 Like


Just put myself down for the fan for September 7th.


Thank you Jasmine! I look forward to meeting you and thank you for helping hack toys for kiddos with disabilities!

1 Like

If anyone is interested in getting in on some toy hacking and would like a quick how-to-solder intro or a refresher before hand. Let me know.

Me me me! =)

Oh i’m so glad i saw this. I’ll be there on sept 7th for sure.

I could use a quick refresher as well, yay!!


Awesome look forward to seeing you next week!

The 5 “new style” Quack Quacks are done. I had time to add a mute switch to one of them. Put them all back where I found them as well as the test switch I used.


So awesome @hectorh thank you for doing this! Will be great to have a few done before the event next Wednesday!

1 Like

Reminder this is coming up next week. If anyone wants to practice soldering or wants a refresher - come on down to open hours this Thursday (tomorrow night) and I’ll give you a hand (I’m helping with lathe stuff but can get you going)…

1 Like

I’ll also be at the space early next Wed if anyone wants to brush up on soldering before the toy hack main event. Also no experience is required – we can get you going. VHS taught me to solder (and a ton of other stuff about electronics) so I’d like to pay it forward.

1 Like

Oops. I guess I wasn’t following this thread and missed the open hours invitation for soldering brush up.

@Janet or anyone else, Is there another opportunity? I guess I should learn how to flag people like you did. This is probably not hard, maybe just as the magic symbol, we will see! I’ll add it above where it makes sense.

That did it! :slight_smile: