Home      Gallery      Files      Forum      the License 

NEWS: ShopBot sponsors LinkerLogs Design Contests

What are LinkerLogs?

LinkerLogs are a new system of interlocking plywood building pieces for kids based on a design from the 1950's, this time digitally-fabricated on a Shopbot CNC tool. They are modular so that additional pieces can be created that will fit any existing pieces, and the system is licensed under the Creative Commons license so that anyone can use the design or add pieces, with the only addition that they share any modifications that they make. Since they're a modern variation of the popular Lincoln Logs toy that many of us grew up with, some people call them "Obama Logs" or "Obama Boards"!

Where did the idea come from?

LinkerLogs were inspired by an article in the Dec 1953 issue of Mechanics Illustrated magazine that a friend from Texas, Ron Brown, sent in April 2009. It was about a home-made set of building planks called "Play Planks". They used 1950's technology to cut them...a table saw...which made the options for parts pretty limited, but fortunately the new generation of computer-controlled tools allows us to modify the parts to add more versality and cut them more accurately. Some prototype parts were drawn in CAD and cut on a ShopBot, just to see how they worked, and as with most prototypes they weren't quite right...the fit was too loose! A little bit of design modification, some more cutting, and they were ready to take to the 2009 Maker Faire to pile up to see what people thought of them. We actually designed some angled connectors while we were at the Maker Faire and cut a bunch, greatly adding to the versitility of the set.

Both kids and adults had so much fun building things with them, and there was so much interest among teachers and schools, that we had to figure out a way to both make the files available and to grow the set with new pieces. This website is the start.

The original set from 1953

Can I modify them?

You sure can...

LinkerLogs are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License, and as long as you stick with the standardized spacing and size of the notches and plank widths, you can add any kinds of pieces that you want...hooks or shelves to make a wall system out of them, architectural details like arches or flying buttresses to make building models, or just some interesting pieces to make it a more versatile toy system. In addition to the Creative Commons License we also require is that you make the files for your new pieces available so that others can add them to their sets, even if you are selling them. If you're not willing to do this please don't base your designs on LinkerLogs!

How can I get a set?

There are several ways. If you have a ShopBot CNC tool you can download the files for the existing pieces, or select from several sheet layouts, and cut them yourself from 1/2" plywood. If you don't have a ShopBot you can find the closest ShopBot Fabber at www.100kgarages.com and contract with them to cut your parts. If you're a school or other non-profit organization and would like to find someone to volunteer to cut some for you as a feel-good project, you can post a request in the "Find a LinkerLogs cutter" section of the LinkerLogs forum and hopefully a kind-hearted ShopBotter will help you out!


I'm a ShopBot owner...how can I get involved?

Well, you can download the files, buy some 1/2" plywood, and cut your own set. You can also download the files and templates and create new pieces...just remember to give back by posting them here.

But the BEST thing to do is to look in the "Find a LinkerLogs cutter" section of the LinkerLogs forum and see if there's a great cause in your area that needs a set and volunteer to cut some parts for them, or post your information in the "Volunteer to cut LinkerLogs" section so that a school or other worthy program can find you.