MCOR 3D Printing - A Toy Story

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MCOR Arke 3D printer and full color toys

MCOR 3D Printing: A Toy Story

3D printing has so many amazing industrial applications from engineering and construction, to the medical and architectural fields. However, we thought it would be fun to call out one of the more lighthearted 3D printing applications that has been sweeping the commercial consumer market recently. Toy making. 

THE EARLY DAYS:

Disney was one of the first kids’ companies to formally embrace 3D printing. Disney imagineers harnessed the revolutionary MCOR Iris to create non-toxic, colorful toys that could be used as props and accessories in the Disney parks. MCOR’s Iris 3D printer was particularly well suited for this application because it uses printing paper to create wood-like parts in a brilliant variety of colors. Because all the materials are 100% recyclable and non-toxic, they are safe for kids to touch, play with, and interact with. This trend became a popular way for the Disney staff to prototype and iterate new toys and inventions that would transform the Magic Kingdom and the Disney franchise. 

PUTTING THE POWER IN KIDS’ HANDS:

MCOR’s ability to deliver ready-to-play parts became so popular that Disney cruise ships (and several of their competitors) adapted the technology to create 3D printing kiosks where children could customize and print their own stuffed animals and plush dolls. These on-demand toy stations added an element of magic to the cruise industry and helped translate the wonder of Disney theme parks into the smaller space. This technology is still somewhat limited because the ability to print 3D objects with fabric is just emerging, but the potential is clear … and it’s tons of fun. 

TAKING IT HOME:

Naturally, the logical next step was for the toy industry to capitalize on this budding popularity. Toy behemoth Mattel recently announced they will launch a “starter 3D printer” called the Thingmaker, which will retail for about $300, and feature stripped down 3D printer features that allow young engineers and inventors to print small, plastic toys. Like children’s convection ovens and hot glue guns of the past, the Thingmaker includes plenty of safety checks and balances to keep little fingers safe as they explore 3D printing for the first time. Aside from the fun of printing their own toys, kids will discover the joy – as well as the art and science – of 3D printing from an early age.

FOR THE CHILDREN AT HEART:

And because we know adults are really just bid kids at heart, we have to mention the MCOR Arke. The Arke is the first affordable, full-color 3D desktop printer that allows big kids to print everything from recreations of their favorite childhood toys, to collectors’ items, to hard-to-find action figures and memorabilia. Much like the MCOR Iris, the Arke uses printer paper as the primary filament to build ready-to-use parts so every invention is ready for play or display the minute it’s finished. The possibilities are endless. As young toy makers grow out of the Mattel Thingmaker and into the full-scale printing process, user-friendly 3D desktop printers like the Arke are the obvious next step in a lifetime of creation.

3D printing is a wonderful scientific breakthrough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with it along the way.

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  • Dustin Heigl
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