[Workshop Share-Out] Creating pneumatic toys with inflatables

Did you attend the inflatables activity training on February 25th? Show off your pneumatic toy creations on this thread!

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My goal was to convert 2D into 3D! :sunglasses:


Wow! So cool! I love how the eyes go in toward each other for a moment.

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@Tracy, @Kris_Lachowski, @bookymargoof – these are amazing! I’m wondering if you could share a bit more about your process! What types of irons did you use? What types of folds did you make to achieve these motions? Love seeing these creations : )

@bookymargoof – I love the idea of going from something 2D to 3D; it ties so nicely into the basis of a lot of inflatables (ones we see everyday). I think it would make a really cool remix for an architecture-centered prompt.


I cut 6 3.5" squares and pre-folded collapsing corners into 4 of them. In hindsight, I think I could’ve creased the folds after sealing the cube together and had similar results, though I did find slightly heat-sealing the inside of the creases helped them hold their shape. I’m disappointed it can’t deflate back into its initial square form (I’m guessing due to material thickness) and that’s my v2 challenge.

I found the heat-sealing aspect to be really challenging even though hand-sealing recycled plastic is a technique that I already use regularly in my art practice. I used a Cricut EasyPress Mini, essentially a very tiny iron. The advice shared during the workshop about using aluminum foil to protect the surfaces from melting was a great one and ended up being my saving grace, but many of my melted seams have had to be fixed multiple times since finishing this. I’d probably use tape for prototyping and experiment with machine sewing + glue sealing for future attempts.


I used a diamond cut for my internal structure, and after noticing it looked like a bird’s wings flapping, added the decorations to bring it to life.!
I used a small chips bag and a regular clothes iron set on wool. be careful not to over heat - my first try burned through the bag too much.
Video: https://youtu.be/z4zP5yVZj5w


Chico MacMurtrie is an inspiring artist who works with pneumatics. I used to work near this sculpture. Honestly it was often broken, but when it worked it was delightful. You would sit on a bench about 10 feet away, and there was a plate that receded into the ground. This would activate pneumatics that made the skeletal shape rise up. Urge to Stand — Chico MacMurtrie
Urge to Stand on Vimeo

If you poke around Chico’s site you’ll see other pieces that sculpt and move with air and other fluids (yeah, I think I remember hearing that engineers think of air as a fluid!)

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One can imagine using our DIY pneumatics to activate other pieces. Here’s the Blow Jack, a very creative project from Toys from Trash

(Toys from Trash it is a brilliant project started by Arvind Gupta in India. The designers use low-cost, upcycled materials in clever ways!)