3D printed spare parts can provide a quick solution for various industries to repair broken equipment, from the railway industry to aerospace MRO. At the other end of the scale however, spare parts for the toys and games industry is an area that has been overlooked, according to French 3D printer manufacturer Dagoma.
As such, the company has launched a new initiative for repairing toys using 3D printed spare parts, named Operation Toy Rescue. Using the Toy Rescue website, users can locate 3D printable files of spare parts for toys that otherwise don’t exist, from Lightning McQueen to your favorite Pokémon.
The platform was launched by Dagoma in response to the number of broken toys that are thrown away due to a lack of spare parts, consequently causing harm to the environment. With Toy Rescue, Dagoma aims to provide “everyone the opportunity to repair an item, which before would only be thrown away.”
Broken toys are an ‘ecological disaster’
Dagoma explains that while several billion toys will be bought during the Christmas period alone, another 2 billion toys are thrown away around the world every year. With most toys being made from non-recyclable plastic, this can be the source of a large amount of unnecessary waste, in what the company explains as an ‘ecological disaster’.
Seeking to address this problem, Dagoma has identified a solution commonly used to keep supply chains moving: 3D printed spare parts. By providing easy and free access to 3D printed spare parts for most toys, the company aims to make them repairable and prevent toys from being thrown away.
3D printing spare toy parts for repair
Dagoma set about creating the Toy Rescue platform by initially identifying the most commonly lost or broken parts of the best selling toys over the last 40 years. Then, using a 3D scanner, a team of designers modeled and recreated over a hundred spare parts for the toys. These spare parts are now listed on the site alongside their 3D printable .stl files for users to download for free and 3D print at home.
Additionally, if a specific toy part cannot be found on the Toy Rescue website, it is possible to contact Dagoma requesting the spare part in question, after which a team of 3D designers will model the missing component. Visitors without access to a 3D printer can also have spare toy parts sent to them via the Dagoma Maker community. Currently, Dagoma is also working on developing a filament made from plastic toys that cannot be repaired, which can then be used to 3D print spare toy parts.
Although Toy Rescue is a specific platform created for 3D printing spare parts for toys, a number of 3D content websites have been established allowing users to share and use 3D printable files. Despite the breadth of the 3D files, a good portion of them include spare parts for toys, like MyMiniFactory, a London-based 3D content platform that also allows users to customize 3D models with interchangeable parts.
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Featured image shows Rex from Toy Story with 3D printed spare part. Photo via Dagoma.