Have you ever thought of customizing your children’s toys at home using 3D printing technology? Moreover, what if you could do so with full cost-effectiveness and a user-friendly technique? Sounds interesting, right!
Shoguns Creative Director, Willard Appiah shares his viewpoint on the emergence of 3D printers, whose impact is envisioned on the toy industry in times to come. Shoguns Studios is a London-based 3D animation studio that helps brands come to life through CGI. It is renowned for developing and building enduring character brands across all media including Mr Monopoly, Chichi Love, Shimajirio, Fartist Club to name a few. The studio works with children entertainment companies such as toys and games, in all territories to create story driven animation shorts for social media platforms such as YouTube and tik tok.
According to Will, as the industry grows, we are going to see a lot more DIY manufacturing and a lot more printing from home in the next coming years, as printers get cheaper. “We will also see this have an effect on the bigger toy brands, as people will start to get bespoke toys for their children and friends as opposed to the regular barbie since it will be a lot more personalised”, added Will.
Delving deeper, toys, which are generally made using plastic involves a massive fossil-fuel expenditure to manufacture, package, and transport them. But with the advent of 3D printing, we can save on the manufacturing and logistics costs involved in plastic toys, with the elimination of clippings, molds and packaging. It is notable that several popular, affordable plastic filaments are biodegradable and made from renewable resources such as corn and even sugar.
Moreover, parents and kids will be able to use 3D printers to make their own toys at home. A budding technology in the toy industry, 3D printers for home are getting less cost expensive ranging from $200 of a low-end model to high-end business models of $3,000 and above. Usually, around the size of a large microwave oven, these printers build objects one layer at a time. The use of commercial software makes it possible for parents to design objects for their kids, and even kids can design toys for themselves.
The usage, relevance and benefits of 3D printing are immense wherein kids can get hands-on experience in engineering, design technologies, R&D, computer-aided modelling, and mini-manufacturing. Not only this, 3D printers can also print replacement parts for lost or broken store-bought toys. Though the technology has not been widely adopted yet, it holds the potential of shaking up the toy industry to another extent.