Inside a Zooble

When I first saw a Zooble (faddish pop-up toy, girly version of a Bakugan) I was amazed at how delicate and complicated the design was.

They also seem pretty fragile and unreliable.

So what better way for a dad to spend his evening than by taking one apart?

First step is to take the back off. It’s held on with triangular headed “TP3” security screws (if my internet research is correct) which are impossible to find a driver for. So I used the small 1.3mm and 1.5mm hex wrenches from my RC pitbox instead.

Inside is the leg that is designed to spring out and trigger the eyes and petals of the Zooble.

Here is the back of the Zooble with a few of the triggered parts. Each one pivots on a tiny pin and torsion spring. You can see that this one was damaged during assembly in the factory, another disadvantage of a seriously complicated design!

Here is a shot of the leg in the extended position. You can see the coil spring just peeking out – it should actually be located on the peg at the far end! At this stage the coil spring was well and truly jammed inside the leg.

And this is the state the coil spring was in. My impression is that if the Zooble is closed in a clumsy way (which is the only way 5-year-olds do things), the unsupported section of the coil spring gets caught in the leg and bent. Once bent, the spring is ineffective and the Zooble will not spring open any more.

A small redesign of the leg would probably solve this issue.

With the leg disassembled, you can also see the system that releases the leg. Another tiny torsion spring keeps the catch engaged and the leg retracted until a magnet is placed under the Zooble, which then attracts the magnet within the leg and releases the catch (if you hadn’t realised already, all the Zooble accessories have magnets inside them to make the toys “spring into life”).

Just above the catch is the small peg that the bottom of the spring locates on. No wonder it has a tendency to move out of position!

And here is a shot of the catch, leg and spring lined up and ready for re-assembly.

All done (and sitting on the wrench I used to fix it). This particular Zooble popped up nicely… for about a week.

Now the other Zooble in the household has stopped springing up as well and, thanks to an over-enthusiastic little brother, has a broken petal for good measure !

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