Construction gift for grown-ups?
July 12, 2010 6:08 AM   Subscribe

Gift filter: your recommendation for construction toys for the older crowd? (think lego, mechano, etc.)

I'm looking to buy a fun gift for a friend who's very into construction toys, particularly lego. Since I don't know much in this area I thought I would trying asking here.

My friend:
- 24 years old
- geeky
- enjoys Harry Potter, world of warcraft
- favorite movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey
- very intelligent and good with his hands
- loves those construction robot models (those that come in kits with the little black sticks with knobs at the ends... sorry, there's probably a specific name for those that I don't know)

I'm looking for a construction gift that is complicated enough that he's not bored by it, but not so complex that it takes months to complete. I know I could get him a lego set, but I wonder if those would be too easy for him? Also what other brands out there produce construction toys for grown-ups?

Ideally I'm looking for things under $50...
Any recommendation welcome! Thanks!
posted by oracle bone to Shopping (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Neocube - little magnetic balls (think magnetic BBs) that can be arranged into endless configurations. Makes an excellent gift/time waster.

This is similar to what you are looking for. I have one of these and everyone that comes over cannot put it down. Very cool.
posted by nineRED at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: I haven't tried it myself, but the "SpaceRail" stuff on looks neat. On YouTube. $88-25.
posted by kmennie at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: I like construction toys too, and these interest me:

Lego Mindstorms (lego robots with computer controllers)
Lego Technic (build your own remote control car)

But maybe he already has these.

K'Nex also has kits for wheeled vehicles, roller coasters, Motorized Madness Ball Machine

I'll be watching this thread for more ideas -- for me!
posted by indigo4963 at 6:31 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Oh, another possibility, depending on your relative proximity to your friend and to a Lego theme park (Florida or California) -- you could do a road trip plus tickets to the park. Perhaps that's a little to young for him, though.

Or maybe Space Camp in Huntsville, AL
posted by indigo4963 at 6:50 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Maybe a Stirling Engine kit?
posted by saladin at 6:56 AM on July 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Capsela kits are wonderful.
posted by francesca too at 6:59 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Under 50 bucks limits a lot of the above suggestions. How about a kit used by kids and also scientists and architects? Zome sets can cost a lot, but they have a great deal on oddball parts that you can build a lot with. At thirty bucks, it's the best value you'll find without scouring yard sales for Lego. The geometry behind it is plenty cool, too.
posted by rikschell at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: We got my kid an Erector Set for Christmas and I think my husband and I have had more fun with it than he has.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:20 AM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: I bookmarked this site thinking of an architect friend, but I think your friend would like it too! Finch & Fouracre have architectural model kits that are pretty realistic looking. And right within your budget too.
posted by hellomina at 3:53 PM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Zoob!
posted by SisterHavana at 10:05 PM on July 12, 2010

Best answer: Makedo gives you the conectors to turn trash and found objects into a connector set. It's on my personal wish list for sure!
posted by cross_impact at 6:24 AM on July 13, 2010

Best answer: Ball of Whacks. Looks deceptively simple, but my husband is constantly fiddling with the one that I got him. It is advertised as a design tool and creativity stimulant. Maybe not constructiony (?) enough for you, but a really fun, design-oriented toy for adults. The company that makes it also makes some other fun toys.
posted by emilyclaire at 7:56 AM on July 14, 2010

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