3D Printed Toys
Since the good old days of wooden toys disappeared into the twilight, plastic has become a major component of toys for all ages, from educational baby toys, through construction sets to games of skill, little ponies and woodland family sets. Some designers, such as Simone Fontana, are now bringing the modern world of 3D printing into the toy market.
AS 3D printers become more user friendly and prices begin to drop, we may even move into the realm of children designing and making their own 3d printed toys. Design artists like Simone, are able to bring their imagination and creative skills to bear on functional products and fascinating physical games and pastimes. Long established toy manufacturers will have to move with the times to customise their products and design toy templates and kits that their consumers can print out themselves. Imagine the convenience of being able to quickly replace any missing parts and bricks.
3D printed toys can widen the audience for classical games
Simone Fontana has taken and recreated some old favourites, which were or still are classics in the toy cupboard. Master Mind and Connect Four rely on plastic components so are ideal for 3D printing. Simone has taken this one step further and modified them for the visually impaired market. With some lateral thinking he then created his own games, such as Finger Hockey and Finger Penalty Shootout.
Just needing a few basic geometric components, these simple ideas are cheap, easily transportable, bridge ages and have the possibility of providing hours of entertainment amongst friends. Slightly more complex is his 3D printed version of Football Pinball, a two-player game. One person takes a shot at goal and the other has to defend the goal. Simone is a professional pinball player, so it is easy to see where his inspiration came from.
Toys to design, print and make at home
More and more web based companies are popping up which give children, and adults, the chance to select, modify, print-out and build their own toys and games. You select the 3D design you want, buy it and then it will be downloaded to you either as an STL-file, or streamed directly to your own printer with G-code. Even if you don't have your own printer, you can still take advantage. Just take the file to print shops or office suppliers who have 3D printers for the general public to use. The 3D printing of toys is definitely the future.