Consumer Products

How 3D printing could save consumers millions in toys and games

According to a new study, 3D printing is already impacting the toys and games market which – by 2020 – is “projected to be [worth] US$135 billion.”

By 3D printing free object designs from MyMiniFactory, the research evaluated the quality and cost in comparison to similar consumer products. The researchers used an FDM 3D printer with a number of different filaments to determine the different possible costs and qualities.

The research was led by Michigan Technological University’s Joshua Pearce, an open source advocate who also recently studied how to make money with 3D printing.

The 'Classic Springo' 3D printed toy by MyMiniFactory user Devin Montes.
The ‘Classic Springo’ 3D printed toy by MyMiniFactory user Devin Montes.

DIY manufacturing

To determine the estimated savings of 3D printing toys and games, the research involved 3D printing three different types of objects. These were: six common complex toys, comparable Lego blocks and open source board games.

The designs were all from a single source, MyMiniFactory and the team found each filament saved the user on average over 75% on the cost of commercially available alternatives.

3D printing has many advantages in the toys and games industry and not just in terms of costs. Users can customize objects to cater to their needs which adds more value over commercial toys and games.

Figure 3 from the paper shows a comparison of 3D printed objects and similar consumer products. Image via Technologies.
Figure 3 from the paper shows a comparison of 3D printed objects and similar consumer products. Image via Technologies.

Saving millions

By analyzing 100 objects from MyMiniFactory, the research concluded that 3D printing is already having a large impact on the toys and games industry.

“Overall, these results indicate a single 3D printing repository among dozens is saving consumers well over $60 million/year in offset purchases.”

These results may be validated by recent news that Disney is attempting to safeguard its products from 3D scanning and copying.

The research paper, titled ‘Impact of DIY Home Manufacturing with 3D Printing on the Toy and Game Market’, has been published in the Technologies journal.

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Featured image shows 3D printed Lego blocks of varying degrees of quality. Image via Joshua Pearce. 

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