Why It’s Better To Make Toys At Home
It was projected that by 2020 the toy and game industry would be worth $135 billion. It’s an enormous pie that 3D printing can bite into. You can just imagine – great toys, plastic and cheap! And no manufacturer needed! While 3D printers are not to be considered toys, the technology can enable toy-making at home with a 3D printer using designs from a free online repository. A team of engineers from Michigan Technological University and the London-based company MyMiniFactory did a study on how much consumers can save 3D printing toys rather than buying from manufacturers.
The researchers investigated the 100 most popular downloaded designs from MyMiniFactory, one of those free online repositories, using three printing material types to analyze the costs of printing on an open source 3D printer (Lulzbot). The materials are commercial filament, pellet-extruded filament and recyclebot filament. Comparing all filament types with commercially made toys, it was found that consumers saved about 75% of the cost if they 3D print their toys instead; 90% of the cost if recyclebot filament were used. Using just MyMiniFactory’s 100 toy designs, consumers save $60 million dollars per year in toy purchases.
The LEGO Magic. Speaking about one of the world’s most famous and beloved plastic toys, Lego is every child’s most coveted plaything, but too expensive for most parents. People tend to keep their Lego blocks like collector’s items, enjoyed by even adults.
Make your own version of Legos
Imagine if these blocks can be 3D printed by your own standard home 3D printer, you can make custom compatible blocks and have that same kind of fun while playing with something you make yourself. Do they look and feel the same as the real Lego or even its generic counterpart? With a little smoothing, recycled ABS plastic can have the same look and feel and absolutely less expensive. A standard Lego block costs six cents; the generic, three cents; and a recycle bot-sourced, 3D printed block is half a cent.
The researchers say there are significant savings – typically between 40 to 90% – even with complex toys like toy trucks, chess sets, math puzzles, action figures and board games. They suggest that toys and games companies should also embrace 3D printing by designing accessories or add-ons that are 3D printed to give added value to their commercial toys. Home manufacturing is growing as printers become more affordable and designs are available free and in the millions.
Fun With Your Own Creation
If you have a bright toy or game idea, bring it over to your 3D printing company in Seattle. Our team at 3D Composites may just turn a dream toy or toy series into reality, at less cost than if you go shopping and looking for it in stores.