Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I begin?

Start with the Introductory Assortment or Designer's Assortment. The Introductory Assortment is an introductory set with massive play value that builds beginner models. If you like the Introductory Assortment, piece-boost to the Designer's Assortment, which adds gears, bearings, and more pieces, letting you build intermediate models. Use piece-boosts on subsequent orders to keep costs low.

If you're a skeptic, order our Cool Ideas Assortment or one of our low-priced Designs. Use piece-boosts on subsequent orders to keep costs low.

If you're an utter skeptic, order one of our Cool Ideas. You won't spend much. If you decide you want to continue, order the Introductory Assortment or Designer's Assortment next.

What is your age recommendation?

We target Crossbeams for makers who have graduated from child-age building toys, but younger ages enjoy them too. In our testing, children under 10 had trouble hand-manipulating the joint and understanding Crossbeams instructions. From an ability standpoint, we advise age 10+. However, interest only develops once things become easier. Therefore, we advise age 12+.

Many of our models feature difficult instructions and advanced design techniques. Therefore, we rank our models into three difficulty levels:

Easy
Age 12+
under 250 pieces

Moderate
Age 14+
250-699 pieces

Advanced
Age 16+
700+ pieces

Assortments are ranked according to the most difficult model the assortment makes.

Intermediate and Advanced difficulty models are beyond child-age. We appropriately label them Not a toy.

Watch kit labels and web tables for these symbols and text. They aid age- and skill-appropriate selection.

How safe is Crossbeams?

Crossbeams complies with U.S. regulations for toys for ages 8+. You may view our Children's Product Certificate or Contact Us for more information.

Crossbeams has not been tested for compliance outside the U.S.

Crossbeams consist of small parts. Keep them away from children under 3. Additionally, you can make nearly anything with Crossbeams. Keep them away from all who cannot handle them responsibly.

What is your return policy?

If you are dissatisfied with your Crossbeams purchase, you may return purchases to us within 90 days for a complete refund. We expect you to pay return postage. After 90 days, Contact Us, and we'll consider returns on a case-by-case basis.

Why are Crossbeams shipments restricted in my country?

We can ship Crossbeams moderate and advanced kits to many countries, because they are not classified as a toy. The only barrier is logistics. If you want to purchase a moderate or advanced kit, and we don't ship to your country, Contact Us.

Crossbeams easy kits classify as toys. Toy compliance laws vary over countries. While Crossbeams has been tested and complies with U.S. toy regulations, it has not been tested for other countries' toy regulations. Due to our small-size, we have chosen to avoid countries with high toy regulation compliance costs. We will reconsider as we grow.

If you live in a country with toy regulations equal-to or less-strict than the U.S., and you'd like to purchase easy kits, Contact Us, and we'll see what we can do.

Will you offer Crossbeams in different colors?

Crossbeams are currently and unabashedly white. To keep the unique piece count low, we want to keep a single color. We may add additional colors in the future, but we encourage you to choose just one color to keep the piece types low and the creativity high.

What future piece types do you expect to release?

We designate 25% of all profits to research and development. While we want to keep the unique piece count small, we also see benefits in a few more piece types. As capital becomes available, we roughly plan the following piece type introduction.

Item Benefits
Slides and Rack Gears rack-and-pinion steering, sliding tables, sliding windows, periscopes …
Rails and Train Wheels train engines, train cars, train tracks …
Tracks and Chains tanks, bulldozers, chain-drive …
Electronics motors, lights, remote control …

Do you have a piece type you'd like to see introduced? Share it with us.

What drives the price of Crossbeams?

The super-strong Crossbeams joint costs more to produce than a simple friction-based joint. Our joint requires four times the machine time (due to injection molding side actions) and considerable assembly work. The thick, solid pieces cost more to produce than hollowed-out small pieces. They require more machine time and more material.

We practice cost honesty and fair pricing. We don't have a ridiculous markup.

On a per-volume, per-mass, or lifetime basis, Crossbeams is low-priced compared to building toys. Because Crossbeams is an excellent building system, many pieces you already own can be reused in your next design. View the two scenarios below.

Item Piece-
Boost
Cost
175-piece Eagle $26.81
230-piece Sports Car $41.03
Total $67.84
Scenario 1: No Piece-Boost

Item Piece-
Boost
Cost
175-piece Eagle $26.81
230-piece Sports Car $23.49
Total $50.30
Scenario 2: Piece-Boost

In the first scenario, you buy two stand-alone kits. In the second scenario, you reuse the first kit's pieces and only purchase the extra pieces you need and the instructions to build the second model. We call that a Piece-Boost. In the second scenario, you save $17.54. And it gets better the more models you build. We averaged 1000 runs of taking our first 80 models, randomly shuffling them, and deriving the amount spent, contrasting it with the leading building toy on the market. By the third model, Crossbeams is nearly half-price.

Crossbeams Cost versus Other Building Toy

Test it yourself. Find the designs or assortments you want to build and add them to your order. Then, use the Piece-Boost option on all but one item and watch your price drop.

How can I use Piece-Boosts for future orders?

Watch

Crossbeams Tutorial: Piece-Boosts

Read

Our website needs to know what pieces you currently own. You enter those pieces on the My Inventory page in a variety of ways.

You add pieces from a previous piece-boost by clicking on the Piece-Boost My Inventory button at the bottom of a design's or assortment's main page.

Save the inventory as a file once you're done. Then you won't lose your work when you switch machines or clear browser cookies.

How do I build a Community design?

We have a growing Crossbeams Community who enter their own designs on our website. Make sure you have the pieces in the design's inventory. If the design features instructions, you can download them; otherwise, you must build from the image.

Can I design virtually and build it in reality?

The Crossbeams Modeller allows you to rapidly develop Crossbeams models in a virtual environment on your computer. Once you're done with the design, follow these steps to order the design's pieces.

How should I sort Crossbeams to quickly find the piece I want?

If you have under 250 pieces, you can probably get away with a single bin.

If you have over 250 pieces and under 1000 pieces, we recommend placing Crossbeams in six separate bins:

If you have over 1000 pieces, we recommend placing Crossbeams in nine separate bins:

When you separate pieces this way, your eye quickly detects the piece you need.

We advise against keeping each design's pieces together. Crossbeams was meant to be a creating system, not an assembly system. Put them together and create!

What happened to the Maglev Train?

It's coming. If you read our History page, you know Crossbeams started with a desire to build a maglev train. From the ground up, we designed Crossbeams to handle electronic components. Most of them are already prototyped and proven. To maintain our debt-free distinctive, we released Crossbeams without electronics. Once our capital is sufficient, we'll complete and release the electronic portion, allowing Crossbeams to penetrate the Robotics market, and allowing you to build a maglev train.

Why are your packages plain?

The packaging industry only offers reasonable costs when orders get well above 1000. Crossbeams isn't an assembly toy. You can build anything with them. Because of that, our list of instructions grows daily. We can't afford to introduce a new product with thousands of boxes and thousands of instructions daily. Yet, we don't want to stifle Crossbeams' growth and limit its offerings. Instead, we opt for something similar to the printing industry's Print On Demand, but we call it Toy on Demand. We package every kit on an as-needed basis. Currently, the closest thing to reasonably priced Packaging on Demand is printable stickers on stock boxes.

Why do you offer kits and assortments without a box?

Many consumers quickly trash a product's packaging. We're trying to reduce waste and your cost.

Can you explain the instructions better?

Our Instructions Guide explains the instructions and pieces in considerable detail. If you're still having trouble, Contact Us.

What do the piece names mean?

The Instructions Guide contains a Pieces section that shows all piece types, their name, abbreviated name, and description. Alternatively, go to the Pieces page, click on the image of any piece, and you'll find a larger image and a description. Briefly, the less obvious piece names follow.

I have trouble twisting the Crossbeams' joint rings near stiff, wheel2, and gears. What do you recommend?

We use Ring Tweezers on hard-to-reach rings.

Ring Tweezers in Use

We advise beginners skip placing stiff. The joint spins freely, but the model still functions.

Sometimes stiff must go beneath an adjacent connected joint. How do you do that?

Slide stiff at an angle beneath the adjacent ring. Once it is beneath the ring, rotate it into place.

stiff angled entry stiff attached

I broke a piece. What do I do?

With Crossbeams' extremely strong joint, pieces break under excessive force, instead of disconnecting at the joint. The joint withstands 20lbs of normal force. However, if you pry it off at an angle, it withstands 10lbs of force. Broken pieces can easily be replaced. We've seen the following breaks under excessive force.

Beam Break Ring Break

Sometimes, our welds break. Those are our mistake. If you see a break like the following two, contact us, and we'll send you a free replacement. Roughly, the left one occurs on 0.05% of join3, join4, and join5; the right one occurs on 2% of single-ended rotates. We've corrected the right one for future batches.

Unwelded Joint Unwelded Rotate