Customising the Toy Industry
It's no surprise that as we near the holidays, the sales of toys rise. The Toy Industry Association provides annual sales data that indicates that games and puzzles have the highest rate of increase in sales. This poses a potential boom for 3D printing technologies to create custom games based on user needs. It goes without saying that if families are already investing in toys and puzzles at an increasing rate, those sales could be further boosted at minimal cost by customizing those games.
The Toymaker's Future
Geppetto's Pinocchio may have a run for his money as 3D printing becomes more mainstream. However, far from removing master craftsmen from the toy making industry, a craftsman will have the ability to build a toy and then have it mass-produced with customizations for children around the world. This will provide more opportunity for craftsmen to produce high-quality toys and models while limiting risk and cost. Runs can be printed as needed, which reduces the cost associated with keeping stock and materials on hand.
Remaking the Toy Store
As companies like Build-A-Bear have shown, there is a market for the instant, custom toy market. As 3D printing becomes more portable, the need for custom toys will likely be replaced with large-scale custom toy creation. As the technology improves, it's not inconceivable to think that parents will be able to enter a toy store and leave with a completely original and custom-made product for their child. While toys may seem like child's play, the reality is that the toy market is a billion-dollar industry. The profits gleaned from the manufacturing of toys will fuel greater improvements in 3D printing. This will ultimately result in improved medical printing to provide life-saving implants and fix broken joints. The technology can also be used to rebuild artifacts that have been lost to time, which gives scientists a 3D view of their subject. The applications are endless, and industries like the toy industry that have a mass appeal can contribute to the development of improved technologies by boosting printing manufacturers' incomes. Some big companies like Stratasys, 3D Systems, Massivit and EOS reported only a few sales of the largest industrial 3D printers in the world. Companies will be able to invest in new technologies and eventually bring the technology of 3D printing down to scale and make it even more affordable.
Written by Matt Milstead
Image credit: 3D Printed Elastic Toy From Disney
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