Tuesday, November 11, 2014

3D Printing: Changing the World of Dolls

3D printing is a process of building a 3D object by depositing a thin layer of material at a time. For 3D printed toys, the materials are usually plastics. The linked Wikipedia page shows a time lapse video sample of 3D printing.

The application of 3D printing is as limitless as the imagination. This technology can allow anyone to start a small manufacturing business. There are already a number of entrepreneurs who have used the technology on doll manufacturing. Here are some examples:

These are customizable dolls. They have a set of "templates" from which a customer can choose from. The dolls look like kids so these are not something I'm interested in.

Mariage Poupee
The dolls (or figurines) have great likeness of the people they are being modeled from. The dolls have the play value of a cake topper, though. People who are vain enough to think that they deserve a mini-monument will really find this idea important.

Mary Magpie by Joey Versaw
This quirky looking doll with a taste for vintage fashion is about the size of a Barbie doll. Joey has created a new line of gay male dolls called "First Love" (also 3D printed) but the male dolls have better articulation.

With the recent developments, acquiring this technology has been made cheaper. For a price of a couple of expensive dolls, one can get a 3D printer. This is not only applicable to printing dolls. One can also print doll accessories like shoes, buckles, bracelets, necklaces or even doll house parts! (3D printed houses for real people have been done.) This brings the power to manufacture in our own backyards. We don't have to rely on just one country to manufacture the things we want.

For those who would rather not buy a printer, they can go to companies that offer 3D printing services. Locally, 3D Printing Manila is one such business.

When I say "printing dolls", I also mean action figures. I approached a 3D printing shop in a local mall a few months back to find out if they can print toys. They can and they showed me a toy robot part they were trying to replicate. The tricky part was modeling it exactly like the original. This will not be a problem if one is starting to design from scratch, without the intention of infringing on someone else's copyrights.

Think about it. The possibilities...

I'll leave you with a link to a time lapse video of the 3D printing process of a doll.

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