Two very recent articles highlight how DIY 3D printed toys is impacting the multi-billion toy market and are making inroads into these large profits.
The toy and game market is projected to be worth $135 billion by 2020. These articles reflect that researchers from Michigan Technology University demonstrate by 3D printing toys yourself there is a saving of 40%-90% compared to the retail price.
MyMiniFactory is one of a number of 3D printing websites which allow people to freely share their designs for a wide variety of toys from simple puzzles to those with moving parts. All of which can be downloaded and printed at home.
In my opinion, this is a very well research article as the 100 most downloaded toys where all downloaded and printed three times each by the research team and the price analysis was looked at, taken into account the cost of the printer i.e. expensive and cheap.
Also, they took into account the cost of the filament used and worked out that the savings could be anything from 75%-90% of the cost compared to the store costs, in this case they used Wallmart.
They particularly looked at Lego Bricks which they felt that per-unit it was quite an expensive toy and they could make a reduction of 92% by using a recyclebot source.
There are opportunities to customise the bricks which allows you to make a unique toy. Obviously, this does not factor in the time and labour, production and packaging costs together with the designs fee which are all reflected in buying a beautiful finished and packaged toy in the store.
However, when we go back and look at the figures MyMiniFactory saved its users more than $5 million in January 2017. This represents the loss of $60 million to the toy industry for the whole of 2017.
Joshua Pearce who lead this research felt that the way forward for the toy industry was to encourage the Maker community to provide free designs and for the Open Source community to design accessories or add-ons to make toys more valuable. He felt that distributed home manufacturing is the future for toys and many other products.
Brown, P. (2017). How DIY 3-D Printed Toys Are Impacting the Multi-Billion Dollar Toy Market | Electronics360. [online] Electronics360.globalspec.com. Available at: http://electronics360.globalspec.com/article/9348/how-diy-3-d-printed-toys-are-impacting-the-multi-billion-dollar-toy-market [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].
Fortuna, W. (2017). Consumer 3D Printers May Finally Be Useful For Something: DIY Toys. [online] Quartz. Available at: https://qz.com/1034623/consumer-3d-printers-may-finally-be-useful-for-something-diy-toys/ [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].