Toy Repair Contest

As you well know, we’re a fair ways out from being finished with our goal to write a repair manual for everything. We have made some great progress, with Game Consoles virtually complete, iPods complete, and Macs well on their way.

What next? Well, we’re making solid inroads in PCs, cell phones, and digital cameras. But there are lots of things to write manuals for, and the path from here to a manual for everything is a little… open ended.

Family circus about toy repair

So let’s make sure we enjoy ourselves while we’re fixing the planet, and take some time out to write repair manuals for some really fun things.

I don’t have kids myself, but I have a lot of friends with them. Getting ready for Christmas, I spent a little time looking around at the holiday toy landscape. I was disappointed, to say the least, when I saw that Squinkies Cupcake Surprize Bake Shop on the Toys ’R’ Us 15 must-have gifts this year. Spoiler: It’s not actually a bake shop, you can’t cook anything with it, and it’s hard to imagine anyone being ‘surprized’ by what’s inside.

But you can make real cupcakes with the Easy-Bake Oven! Did you know Hasbro has manufactured 18 million of them? I had no idea. I wonder how many still work—or could be easily fixed up and made to work again. A cleaned up, repaired, and custom painted Easy-Bake Oven would be an incredible gift.

I haven’t been terribly impressed with any of the new, non-electronic toys I’ve seen. It all seems like cheap plastic junk—probably because it is. But some of the toys I remember from my childhood were really cool! That started me wondering about how many of them still work—or could be make to work again with a little TLC.

Make Old Toys New Again!

What if this year, instead of going out and buying new toys, we rummaged through our attics and hit up thrift stores to find the really cool toys we had as kids?

We could save money, get truly unique gifts for our kids, and reduce the amount of plastic junk we’ll have lying around to throw away next year.

So let’s do it! This Christmas season, let’s show our children a thing or two about reuse. We don’t need to buy new toys every year. In fact, the old toys were pretty dang cool! If only we could make them like new again.

Toy repair  of Pleo the dinosaur
Opening Pleo, a toy robot dinosaur

Toy Repair Contest

Toys are just like gadgets—the best way to get them working again is to teach people how to fix them up!

Our game console repair manual is a great start. We’ve already got you covered if you want to gift a vintage Game Boy, Nintendo GameCube, or Atari 2600—or just about any other console.

But the only toys we have disassembly photos for right now are Pleo, the robot dinosaur, and the Nerf N-Strike Maverick! Christmas is right around the corner, and we clearly need to do something about that.

We’ve partnered with Wired to host a contest, starting today and ending December 12. Write a toy repair manual! We’ll award prizes for the most useful and comprehensive manuals.

What should you write a repair manual for? I brainstormed a list of about 40 classic toys that would be good to get repair manuals going for, and we’ve set up stub device pages for them. Don’t limit yourself to just those—if you have a different toy you want to fix, go right ahead! (Here’s how to add a new device.)

To make sure we know it’s a contest entry, tag your guides with toycontest.

Our goal is to build a useful repair manual for each of these toys. We’d like to avoid duplicate guides, so add a note to the device page once you decide what procedures you’re going to document. Just tell us what guides you think you’ll be working on, and the date you expect to be done by. That way other people can work on different procedures.

We’ll award the prizes to the seven individuals who contribute the most to the toy repair manual overall.

The Rules

  1. Take apart a toy.
  2. Post photos of the repair process using our guide editor.
  3. Add the tag ‘toycontest’ to your guides.
  4. The repair guides will be judged by a panel of iFixit and Wired staff.
  5. Contest ends Sunday, December 12 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.

The Prizes

Judging Criteria

  • You must write at least one new repair guide with photos.
  • We will factor in overall contributions to the toy repair manual area in addition to your own guide(s). This includes edits to improve device pages and other folk’s repair guides.
  • This is not a teardown contest—your guide must show someone each step of how to fix the toy.
  • Try to avoid duplication, but we won’t penalize you if there’s an honest mistaken overlap.
  • Also, iFixit provides instructions for how to write a repair guide and how to take photos, and has plenty of examples of manuals for your reference.

Got it? Now go fix up some joy!