Custom DeAgostini Audio Book

DeAgostini makes these amazing book and audiobook combos for Disney stories. In this post I’ll document how to create your own figurines and audio for it, as many parents have requested so.

If you have the chance, it’s honestly, one of the best purchases that we’ve made for our kids.

For bedtime we always read a book to our kids, sometimes it’s Disney, other times Bogyo & Baboca, sometimes it’s Dr Seuss. In short, we have shelves full of books to read to them.

However, they don’t always go to sleep immediately (especially our eldest). So she has her Disney Audibook lined up with various figurines. It’s great as she gets to listen to stories, and go to sleep at her own accord (sometimes 1 story other times 5!), and allows Mum & Dad to get on with their evening.

Unfortunately, one of their favourite stories is the Gruffalo - a non-Disney story.

The Idea

The idea was simple.

Can we make our own figurine that would play the Gruffalo when put on the player?

Since the audibooks are available in multiple languages and the microSD card is easily accessible in the player it made sense that the audio should be relatively easy to solve just by placing a file on the microSD card, and replacing the NFC sticker from an unwanted figurine.

Creating the figurines should also be relatively straight forward given that I can find CAD files of the Gruffalo and the mouse. Hint: yes I can.

Creating the Figurines

Since I could find the CAD files for the Gruffalo and the Mouse (shout out to steinadler on Thingiverse) ‘all I needed to do’ was measure the base of the figurines and combine the two.

CAD Modeling

Grabbing my trusty Shapr3D I was able to do just that. I also used Fusion360 to convert the STL files to a usable STEP format for some minor editing of the figurines.

If you’d like to create your own the base is 110mm in diameter and 5mm in height with a 108mm diameter, 2mm deep extrusion from the bottom for the figurine NFC disc.

3D Printing

With the 3D files created, 3D print them. If you’re using an FDM printer, adjust your settings to make it easy to remove the support material from below the bodies of the animals. As I’m not an expert in Cura setting, my friend Peter Kocs was able to help with optimizing it.

Take Apart Another Figurine

Unfortunately, one of the compromises you have to make if you’re doing this, is that you won’t be able to have a full collection. Luckily, for us this isn’t a problem as we buy the stories that our kids enjoy.

Therefore, I purchased two figurines that I knew we wouldn’t want to buy in the future. I gently pried off the bottom, and stuck them on to the 3D printed figurines.

Paint the Figurines

With everything assembled I spent a few hours painting the figurines. I used acryllic paint with 2 layers of satin finish to seal everything in.

Funny story. My daughter, of course, would choose this to be the only time in five years that she comes up to the attic in the middle of the night. While I was able to hide the model in time, she did see the reference images open on my computer. I just told her I was making some colouring sheets for her.

Creating the Audio

It was time to get onto the audio part of the projects. We decided that I would be the Gruffalo and read the book in English, while my wife would be the mouse and read it in Hungarian.

You’d think that reading a book aloud with a microphone going would be easy. Not so much. Luckily we made a date night of it and had a lot of fun recording it. We used Audacity to cut the page-turn beeps out of the existing audibooks and to paste together the new audiobooks.

Once complete, we wrote it onto microSD card ‘hidden’ within the audiobook reader. What you have to be careful of is to ensure that the file names stay the same.

Putting It All Together

That’s it. You now have a working audiobook with your childrens favourite book.