Sword Tear Down by Eden Lew

[Images have been fixed]

On my way to Toys R Us, I found a Chinese toy wholesale shop. It was cheap-toy heaven. Long story short: I never made it to Toys R Us and got this rad sword for $5.

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It lights up and has 3 rotations of slashing and fighting noises.

Time to tear!

First I had to use a tiny screwdriver. Thankfully I had one lying around.

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I had to remove 10 tiny screws before I could open the plastic “handle case.” Then I popped open the case and pulled out 3 batteries. They are T&E brand batteries, made in China, and contain 0.00% Hg (Probably stands for mercury?) according to the packaging.

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After that, everything easily fell out. Unfortunately, nothing was labeled very well, so I took a guess at all the parts. First, there was a green electronic looking chip. I’m thinking this is the motherboard or brains of the toy because all the wires are soldered to it. A string of 4 clear LEDs, two larger clear LEDs, and a blue push button/toggle switch connects to the left side of the chip. The right side has connections to a circular sound speaker with the label “TWM .023 Ohms”, and two metal parts of the battery holder. I’m thinking that the push button (when pushed) sends power to the chip which sets off both the LEDs and the speaker. I do not believe that the lights and sound correlate.

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I also pulled out two plastic bulbs that held the larger LEDs. Although I don’t have a background in manufacturing methods, I can tell that these bulbs were made in halves and then stuck together like a puzzle. The exterior is a smooth and spherical-like, while the interior has geometric facets.

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To create the colored lights, 4 colored straws were taped together and shoved into a hollow plastic blade. I’m not sure why they decided to use straws instead of colored LEDs. I could tell that these straws were hand-taped, which led me to wonder about the working conditions in this factory.

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I decided to dissect the plastic, hollow blade by running my OLFA knife along the seam of the plastic. This blade was probably stamped or vacuum formed in two parts and then seals together with heat to make a hollow interior.

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The two design elements that intrigued me the most would have to be in the details. I was not impressed by the designer’s solution of cramming all the electronic parts into a shell. Although it may be clever, I’m not a fan of cheap straws taped together to make long rows of colored lights. My interest is in the small details that they decided to create in such a cheap toy. The light bulb’s interior faceting is an elegant little touch that turns a regular light into a fake crystal. The designs pressed into the blade didn’t need to exist, but it adds a level of decoration to this cheap wholesale toy. These details make me feel like some thought was put into the making of this sword.

Eden