Our Story


Crossbeams inventor, Charles Sharman, tells the story of Crossbeams.


Dad, can we make a maglev train?

In 2003, Charles Sharman's five-year-old son sparked the beginning of Crossbeams with this question. As an electrical engineer, Charles was used to prototyping ideas in a few hours on a breadboard. But as he investigated the efforts needed to make a maglev train at home, he found no mechanical engineering equivalent. Long hours and raw materials were all that was available, and Charles thought, Wouldn't it be nice to have a mechanical engineering counterpart to an electrical engineer's breadboard?

A second impetus came later. As a children's Sunday School teacher, Charles watched younger children enamored with fantastic building toys migrate to video games as they aged. Charles wished there was a building toy for older ages that encouraged children to continue actively creating instead of passively being entertained. As a skilled analog integrated circuit designer, Charles designed very high-speed driver/comparator/load chips for integrated circuit memory testers. The driving force behind high-speed memories at the time was video games. He was contributing to the problem!

So, Charles began designing Crossbeams in the nights and early mornings. By 2009, Charles had saved enough money to quit his day job and work full-time on Crossbeams. Seven:Twelve Engineering began in 2010. Derek, the former five-year-old, became the first outside contractor, designing Crossbeams instruction sets. Product introduction came in 2014.