Christmas is over – the delicious decorated cookies are (almost) gone, the tags have been removed from your new clothes, and you’re completely out of Scotch tape and tissue paper. When you head out to the grocery store this week to stock up on snacks and champagne for New Year’s Eve, you’ll probably see that Valentine’s Day decorations have already taken over the available shelf space that recently housed candy canes, gift tags, and all of those random stocking stuffer gifts. Maybe 3D printing played a part in your holiday celebration, like it did mine – I purchased one of Melissa Ng’s 3D printed Health Potion Pendants for my mother-in-law. I think we can all agree that 3D printed gifts and decorations are pretty fun, but sometimes 3D printing can also help bring about a Christmas miracle, as in the case of this little boy suffering from a life-threatening medical condition. Toronto-based 3D printing company Custom Prototypes had the opportunity this Christmas to bring a smile to a disabled girl’s face.
Custom Prototypes has been turning ideas into tangible products using 3D printing for the last 20 years. The Canadian prototype shop has received recognition for its innovative approach to design, and provides services, including CNC routing and vacuum forming, for inventors, engineers, designers, manufacturers, researchers, and visionaries. They offer CAD and finishing services for the products they create and 3D print using their large format SLA systems, and they also help develop prototypes for inventors with a great idea but no tangible product to show potential investors. Recently, they received an email from a woman named Judy, who wanted their help to make a unique Christmas gift for her teenage granddaughter Makayla.
Makayla is disabled, and fell in love with a cartoon image of a lumberjack she found on the Internet. Judy isn’t quite sure why 14-year-old Makayla likes the burly lumberjack so much, but it is clearly important to her, and Judy wanted to turn this into a special present. She contacted Custom Prototypes and asked what it would cost for them to take the image of the lumberjack, reproduce it, and create a version of the lumberjack that Makayla could hold in her own hands. Would it be possible to transform the image her granddaughter is so attached to into a 3D figurine?
The elves…I mean, employees…at Custom Prototypes decided to put their equipment to the test, by using them to 3D print plastic for the first time in order to bring a smile to Makayla’s face for Christmas. They also wanted to complete the lumberjack figurine for free, as a nice holiday gesture for Makayla and her family. On their blog post about this project, they said they felt obligated to take on this unique project and see if they could help Judy out with the perfect Christmas gift.
The team of designers at Custom Prototypes took the image and used 3D software to create a CAD model of the lumberjack. Once the file was prepared, they 3D printed the plastic model, using what appears to be an SL600 3D printer. Once the model was fully printed, they began working on the fine details – sanding the model by hand, priming it, and painting it to look just like the Internet image of the cartoon lumberjack Makayla loves so much.
The team was able to complete the 3D printed lumberjack figurine in time for Christmas! We haven’t heard yet what grandmother Judy and Makayla think of this special gift, but I’m certain they both love it. To see more of the process, check out this video from Custom Prototypes:
Discuss in the Custom Prototypes forum at 3DPB.com.