I really enjoy design-projects. Making things from an idea into reality: It’s the essence of engineering. But, it’s one thing to make things for yourself and a whole other thing to make it for others. That’s where you can really put your skills to the test! read on for more detail on this process.

Design process starting point

The first thing that is needed is a quick sketch of the many options available based on a certain theme or certain parameters. No need to create more than a rough sketch at this point. (We call these Preliminary layouts, customers typically make you do these over about 3-4 times … until they’re purr-fect)

For this commission a budget was set (Quote price with terms), paint colors were limited to anything in stock (I have quite a bit of stock over the years) and the theme was set to “dinosaurs” (This project may or may not be for George from Peppa Pig). The rest had a few different options to pick from.

Final Idea development

Next, once the general shapes and sizes were decided, I used the parameters provided to further develop the idea (the Final drawings). No exact dimensions were needed (Not actually important), but the general shape and visual proportions were able to be used for manufacturing from the sketches.

Custom Product Order Listing

The last remaining step is to produce a “custom product listing” this makes sure that you have a final sale (or in contract terms: an executed contract). This protects both the Creator and the Purchaser. It’s a binding contract that dictates the terms of sale/Service. In the case of a simple product like this, no-one cares, “I just want you to make my stuff, yo”

Parts and materials purchased

With the design idea fully developed, a parts-list was created (Bill-of-Materials; engineering listings) and all the required parts were purchased from the local hardware store. (Manufacturing start)

The most important part of this project (of any project?) is the structure. I had to design this so that if it ever gets thrown or dropped, it should probably survive (probably). My lawyers say not to guarantee anything …

Roof opens and closes

The roof will be the most used mechanical component, so it had to be designed tough. I used a heavy duty hinge attached to TEE-nuts. So literally, the wood would have to rip apart before it breaks …

Ominous looking house in the dark

With the structure fully built, the next logical step is to add all the little doohickeys that will make this toy: a real toy (One day I’m going to be a real toy!).

  • Add the chimney boingy
  • Add the valve spinner
  • Add the deadbolts
  • Add the fence lock
  • Add the chain lock
  • Add the shoelace
  • Add the light switch
  • Add the windows
  • And add the door
  • Add the yabba dabba doo!

Now we’re talking! I like it already.

Yellow walls, blue pillars, red roof. Colour, colour … So much colour! Sort-of reminds me of a Dr. Seuss book.

Painted, varnished, assembled. The glowing blue and green lights adds a touch of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde from Pagemaster.

Beam me up Scotty

Yes, that’s right, I had to put electronics into this kids toy … Maybe I have a problem? … Maybe you have a problem, I don’t see a problem. Go away, leave me alone!

I kept the wiring short, the voltage to 3vdc, the batteries screwed shut, and the wiring is also glued down, permanently. That’s kid proof enough, any more than that and you should probably Bubble wrap the whole house


My daughter loves the lights. Yup, #led-life runs in the genes I guess … Do you think it’s “Flintstone” enough though? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Red Valves make the world go round!