One of the greatest benefits of 3D printing is that one can print unique, individual parts instead of having to produce a single part in mass production which has to appeal to everybody. Because realistically, only a few things appeal to everybody. Customization can be applied to anything from functional parts to prosthetics and from gadgets to prototypes. We recently visited TinkerToys in Leipzig, Germany who apply this huge advantage to toys.
From design to print, made possible by Tinkertoys even in the smallest hands
We were greeted by Jonas Willen, responsible for production and with the team since November 2014. He offered us some insights in regards to their way of working and how they use 3D printing in such a great way.
TinkerToys was founded in 2014 and has a goal and this goal is to show children what creative potential is within them. They have developed their own software, the Digital Construction Kits, with which they can playfully create their own toys as 3D models on a touch screen. The software is made as such, that kids as from 6 years old can work with it.
Designing, the easy way
Marko Jakob, one of the founders of TinkeToys, says: “We want to show children that you can do more with digital media than only watch YouTube videos or play video games. The digitalization of the world also offers incredible possibilities and we want to show children the possibilies of the creative process at an early age.”
The self designed models can then immediately be printed on several printers, mostly Ultimakers. As a material, TinkerToys has commited to only use bio-based materials and print almost exclusively with colorFabb’s PLA/PHA.
Jonas explains: “For TinkerToys, it is important that the toys are made of a sustainable material. Furthermore, Colorfabb PLA with the addition of PHA allows us to print connectors, so the toys can move. For example, our mascot TimTinker can move all his body parts and the cars can move their tires.“
Another element is how well our filaments works with the Ultimaker line of printers. It is no secret that we have quite a lot of Ultimaker printers in our print lab to ensure that our filaments run as flawless as possible on these printers.
PLA/PHA is our signature PLA filament which we exactly launched 4 years ago this month. The added PHA makes our grade of PLA tougher and less brittle than generic PLA grades in the market. PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) is like PLA a bio-polyester, so our unique blend is still 100% biodegradeable. This material is available in 30 colors.
With over 15.000 printed unique toys so far, the TinkerToys staff of 9 ensure that high quality prints end up with the small designers and bring their dreams to life.
TimTinker – TinkerToys’ mascot
Sander Strijbos (colorFabb) and Jonas Willen (TinkerToys) in the Leipzig store