“We are in a unique moment in time where inventing and new business opportunities surround us. There are magic tools available and vast online resources to help.” – Mark Trageser, insaniTOY
Back on October 22-23, 3DPrint.com was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Inside 3D Printing Conference in Santa Clara, California. Having attended their other shows prior, both Ed and I were extremely excited to see who would be on hand for this show. Situated in the front corner of the exhibition hall was probably one of the most eye-catching booths of the entire event, KramCo3D / insaniToy.
I was like a kid in a toy store, quite literally. Maybe that’s because I was in a toy store, sort of — or should I say toy booth, and the colorful moving objects all around me brought out my inner child. InsaniToy is a 3D printable toy startup launched very recently by a man named Mark Trageser.
Within about 10 seconds of meeting Trageser, I was able to tell he had an incredible passion for what he does. Working in the toy design business for 20 years for companies like Mattel and Fisher-Price, Trageser has a vast knowledge of the industry.
“Our goal is big but simple,” explained Trageser to 3DPrint.com. “Re-invent how toys are made from the bottom up. I’ve worked in corporate toys for decades and know all the problems. 3D printing eliminates most of them so I started a company to explore and focus on all the positives the technology brings. With all the new opportunities available I couldn’t help but jump in.”
The incredible number of unique toys crammed into the tiny 10 x 10 foot booth was enough to make any child or slightly childish adult (myself) want to plop down on the floor, sit Indian style, and play for the next several hours. Unfortunately I had work to do, and had to resist the urge, opting to continue to discuss the company’s plans and inner workings with their founder (which was probably almost as enjoyable).
Trageser told us that he currently uses a number of different 3D printers, all FDM/FFF-based. He has shied away from SLA machines like that of Formlabs’ Form1 because of their price, as well as the brittleness of the objects they create. The main machines he uses are open source printers similar to the MakerBot Replicator 2. Trageser’s experience with 3D printers stems back numerous years.
“I’ve worked with every machine there is while making toy prototypes as part of my design job [while working for Mattel and Fisher-Price],” he explained. “I didn’t run the machines but had access to an amazing shop thanks to my job. So I’ve been making 3D toy samples for a long time. For the last 9 years I’ve been inventing. I was making prototypes and working with large toy companies to produce my toys for royalties. An example — Dragon Racers are a product I invented for Spinmaster and they are sold at Walmart exclusively right now.”
Now instead of designing for a large corporation based upon market research, Trageser basks in the freedom he has to make whatever his heart desires. Thanks to 3D printing, this is all possible, allowing him to build intricate mechanical devices which he tells us surprises even him sometimes.
It was impossible to ignore Trageser’s zeal for what he does. You can tell that his passion will likely pay off in the long run, and may already have. Recently he has been working with Hasbro on a deal, which he is very proud of. Further details on this project will have to wait, however.
These are certainly exciting times for many industries out there, but the toy industry may be about to enter a golden age of design, as Trageser tells us, “I’ve been inventing and making toys for a long time and I have never been more excited or seen more opportunity in my life. Time to play hard!”