It’s not just industry that stands to benefit from advances in 3D printing. Some of the most delightful (and downright amazing) toys, models and machines can be printed on 3D printers, making 3D printing for kids the next hottest toy. Pretty soon, your children won’t be asking for an Xbox for Christmas; they’ll be asking for that new 3D printer so they can create the toys they want! Here’s a peek into what’s on the horizon for kids and 3D printing.
Forget posting pictures on the fridge.
Designer Burnat Cuni creates unique 3D art by taking your children’s drawing and transforming it into a figurine. Although this is only a send-away service now, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to do the same on your home 3D printer, decorating your home with an entire gallery of long-lasting, colorful 3D memories.
No excuse for air guitar anymore.
If your kid wanted to learn to play guitar, but you can’t find the right one, why not print it? 3D printing designer Scott Summit created an entire, full-sized guitar using powdered nylon. Still a prototype process, his method allows printers to create guitars of any size, shape or design, and since it’s a nylon polymer, it will sound good and last forever.
Is this the next Lego?
That’s the best way to describe ModiBots, a new toy line available for purchase on Shapeways. ModiBots are skeletal-like constructions that are printed and shipped to users via the Shapeways marketplace. Kids can customize their creations, mixing and matching the ModiBots with a weapon or armor of choice. The process takes just under two weeks from ordering to your front door, but as 3D printers become more popular, users will be able to print their favorite ModiBot right from home.
Dated toy nostalgia.
Imagine trying to explain record players to your children. Now, you might not have to. For those that can find a vintage Fisher Price record player (those of you alive when they were popular), Fred27, an Instructables user, created a method of producing custom records for Fisher Price players using CNC milling, and is on his way to creating a home process for 3D printers. The hope is that children can input their own melodies, learning how notes and tempo create songs and then go home with a permanent “record” of the experience.
Fly the friendly skies!
Extreme Fliers, a RC toy company out of the UK, created a line of 3D printed toy helicopters which can be customized on their site. Users can either purchase the printed fliers directly from the site or order the designs and print them from home. Although the mechanical components still need to be purchased from the site, there’s an infinite number of ways you can customize the helicopter design.
Forget the Lines, Rushes and Toy Aisle
With all these advances in 3D printing toys, it seems the nostalgia of browsing through a Toys ‘R Us and picking out your favorite Transformer or Barbie will be a thing of the past. That is not a bad thing. That means no more waiting in line for the doll everyone else wants, and no more browsing Craigslist or eBay for that hard-to-find toy. Soon, the measure of a child’s toys will be the kind of 3D printer Mom or Dad is using. A toy that everyone in the family can enjoy.