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Inki was a semester-long project for my Toy Product Design class during freshman spring. Designed for the transitional period between finger-painting and artistic creation with adult tools, the Inki toy is a squeezable paint-filled bulb - sculpted like an imaginary undersea creature - with brushes on the bottom. It is sized to fill a 3 to 5 year old's palm, the bottom brush section can be locked so that no paint can be squeezed out, opened to allow painting, or removed entirely to allow cleaning and refilling. In order to add multifunctionality, Inki comes with a "family," each of whom have a different type of brush. The family can be stored in their thermoformed yellow submarine.

I originally drew Inki and then presented the concept to my team mates and our mentors. As the toy concept evolved, I created more concrete renderings of Inki and its family. Once we had settled on characters we liked that incorporated a range of paint tool types (brushes, sponges, and stamp-type patterns), we hand sculpted them from a modeling clay that became malleable under a heat lamp.

Two-part molds were cast over the front and back halves of each toy model, and then the final prototypes were rotationally molded out of silicon. Inki itself (in red) was a fully-functioning prototype, with separately molded hollow top and base pieces. The locking device was prototyped in ABS plastic using a fused deposition manufacturing (FDM) technique. This mechanism was overmolded, with a custom molded silicon one-way valve, into Inki.