Our Building System
The original ENGINO® system, launched back in 2007, consisted of only 18 basic components. These were designed to be as modular as possible so that with just a few different parts many models could be created. At that time, when ENGINO® was still a small start-up, the available budget was very small, and every new part meant investing in another injection tool. The famous construction toy giant at that time, had a library of more than 8000 different parts, and the small ENGINO® team was up against a seemingly impossible challenge:
How to develop a building system with no more than 20 parts and be at par with a system of 8000 parts?
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato said, “necessity is the mother of invention”. After 3 years of intensive research and development, our disadvantage has turned out to become our biggest advantage. It has led to the design of our patented multi-functional joints (receptors and plugs) that allow snap-fit connectivity at both sides of a rod at the same time. It was this innovation that has propelled ENGINO® to one of the top industry leaders in the category of STEM and Robotics!
Since then, our designers have embedded these same geometries to more specialized parts and developed new complimentary shapes that cover the needs of children from ages 3 to 14+. Today, the ENGINO® system continues to excel in usability, and even thought it has extended its library of components, it still has less than 200 different parts, while being perhaps the only system that is fully compatible throughout all ages.
The ENGINO® System has now evolved into 3 Sub-Systems
The “Qboidz”, which consists of cube-like bricks for preschool children starting at the age of 3, the “Classic”, which is the original ENGINO® for kids of age 6 and above, and the more advanced “Mechanics” with precision engineered technical parts and gearing systems for children over 9 years old
Connecting the Beams...
Beams can connect adjacently with each other, like bricks, by using our specially designed snap-fit axles, yet, they can be also be connected linearly at various angles using our new patented beam connectors!
One of the biggest innovations of the ENGINO® Mechanics system is how the Beams can connect easily to the Classic System using the special axle-adaptors.
Connecting the Wheels...
These axle-adaptors besides connecting Classic parts to Mechanics, they are best utilized for easily attaching our new low-friction wheels and gears to models.
With larger models, it is possible to have the wheels breaking off due to their bigger weight. To solve this problem, a special component has been designed to be a hybrid between ENGINO® Classic rods and Mechanics’ beams.
This part enables a fully secure connection so that wheels or gears can remain attached to the models. There are various parts that combine these same geometries, offering a wide range of options to young builders for creating more functional mechanical and robotized models.
Connecting the Axies...
The new Mechanics system relies on axles to connect the various technical parts together. There are various sizes of axles, with each one servicing a specific purpose and engineering application.
When making technical models, it is important to transfer motion longer distances. For this purpose, we have developed a range of axle connectors that allow the axles to snap-in. These connectors have various sizes and will join axles linearly, extending them to the length required. There is even a special part to connect an axle vertically on Beams!
In many cases there is a need to change the direction of motion by an arbitrary angle. Transferring power at an angle is quite challenging, but engineers have actually figured it out by inventing centuries ago the Universal joint. The new Mechanics System includes even the specialized parts to model such a joint!
There is a unique design feature in all these axles, and that is the slotted tip. The tip has been designed with that patented shape for two purposes. The obvious one is to snap-fit when an axle is inserted in the receptive holes of beams, gears and wheels. The slot allows deflection of the tips and enable a smooth, repeatable click.
Locking the connections...
The second purpose of the slotted tip on the axles is what makes it a multi-purpose tool! A “lock-pin” can be inserted inside the slot and once it snaps in place, it can hold one part securely on the other, like a fastener.
By attempting to pull the parts apart, the “lock-pin” wing's inside the slot restrict axle's deflection and force the parts to remain connected. But, as easily as this pin is inserted, it is as easily removed! Just pull the pin out first, either by using fingers or with the innovative extraction tool, and parts are unlocked and released.
Powering up the Models...
The ability to animate models using motors is the first step before introducing robotics. The new ENGINO® motors are designed with a snap fit removable axle so that it can be replaced easily when overstressed. The high-performance gearbox inside the casing achieves high torque and powers two outputs as an option, a fast one and a slower one, giving a 2-speed option to the user.
There are two versions of the motor, one with built-in battery compartment and one with a robotics cable. Still, living in the new world of renewable energies, we could not have left out the possibility to power the motor only with solar energy! The solar panel of ENGINO® has a large surface to produce enough voltage when placed in direct sunlight, to power even large models such as the Ferris wheel!
Working with Gears...
The new mechanics system of ENGINO® includes a range of high-precession gears that provide a smooth motion and transmit power from a hand-driven crank or the motor to another position, changing speed and torque based on the Mechanical advantage of Simple Machines.
There are 3 sizes of spur gears, a modular worm drive that can stack to itself achieving longer worms, a rack gear to convert rotational motion to linear and a set of bevel gears to change the direction of motion by 90 degrees. The central axle hub of the gears connects with a snap-fit with the various shafts of the system and is held secure in place with the use of the patented locking pin, making sure that gears will stay in place even when stressed with higher loads!
Working with Pulleys...
In modern-day machines, gears are more regularly used due to their compact size and efficiency. However, another Simple machine, the Pulley, has been in use since ancient times and it still has its applications! Younger students understand mechanical advantage easier when using Pulleys, and the Mechanics system by ENGINO® has 3 sizes of pulleys that can be used interchangeably to perform several experiments and machine configurations.
Working with Cams & Cranks...
To convert circular motion to reciprocal, such as the car engine, the use of cams is required. Students can learn valuable lessons through the deployment of cams in their models and understand how cams not only change the type of motion but can also act as timers. ENGINO® has two types of cams for teaching purposes, the traditional egg-shaped cam and the snail cam.
Working with Levers & Linkages...
The new beams of the Mechanics system has half the width of the Classic ENGINO® rods, making them more sturdy and robust, ideal to create levers and linkages and magnify motion. They can be combined with the simpler classic rods and accommodate variable complexity as per student's capabilities.
Power transition can be achieved by using single pieces of axles or shafts. But when there is a need to reach longer distances, a single axle is not enough. The system includes axle connectors that can extend an axle to any length needed, simply by joining the axles together with snap-fit secure action. In addition to straight connectors, the ENGINO® system has Universal joints which are remarkable when attempting to change the angle of power transfer!
Making robots turn easily...
When students make robotic models they are very often asked to program them for very common tasks such as line-following or obstacle avoidance. There are various methods to make a robotic car turn, but one of the most efficient ones which allows rotation on the same spot, is through the use of a central ball caster wheel. The metal sphere is captured in between two support wings and is allowed to rotate freely with minimal friction.
Mechanics building system is programmable with Produino and GinoBot controllers.
Produino gives kids the opportunity to learn about coding and robotics at an advanced level. Unlike other robotics which are limited to the included peripherals, Produino can be expanded with DIY add-ons, coming from the open-source library of Arduino technologies. This set consists if a library of cables, sensors and electronic components that can be connected to Produino, helping children acquire a deeper understanding of electronics and embedded systems.
Developed by a high-level research team of engineers and academics, GinoBot™ is a unique tool for teaching STEM disciplines, computational thinking and digital literacy with fun and hands-on activities. The upgradable potential of GinoBot™ is essentially unlimited due to its compatibility with microcontrollers such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi and micro:bit. With GinoBot you can easily learn real programming languages such as C/C++ and Python, while having fun.
Mechanics building system is also programmable with our KEIRO™ software.