When I think of desktop 3D printing, one of the first applications which pop into my head is the printing of toys! Why? Probably because most toys we buy today are already made from plastic, so the evolution to 3D printed toys isn’t really one which is too earth shattering. In fact, a good majority of the items I print at home are toys for my sister’s children, most of which they love.
With that said, it only seems natural that the world’s largest, and probably best known toy store, Toys’R’Us, would enter the space eventually. Well, it appears as though this month will be the month in which it will happen. At least a pilot program for 3D printing within two Toys’R’Us stores will be launching within weeks.
Teaming with Pittsburgh-based start-up PieceMaker Technologies, the company will be installing two kiosks in stores located in Totowa, NJ and Cranberry Township, PA, prior to the Black Friday shopping extravaganza on November 28. The kiosks will enable customers to interact with, create, and then 3D print customized toys and even wearables.
According to Arden Rosenblatt, the CEO and co-founder of PieceMaker Technoloies Inc., this is a brand new system which will allow users to have their products printed within the store in under 30 minutes. In fact, the average print time for a product has been 18 minutes during initial testing at stores such as Playthings Etc. in Butler, NJ. The customized 3D printed items will cost around $10, and provide quite the interactive experience for children and adults alike. The actual kiosk will measure just 4.5 square feet in size, making it rather unintrusive, and early tests of the product has equated to an 18% user-to-buyer conversion ratio.
After this pilot program is complete, Rosenblatt hopes to expand his “factory in a store” kiosks worldwide to as many locations as possible. “The goal is to keep going bigger,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how these systems perform this holiday season, as shoppers look for something unique to put under the tree. With print times under 30 minutes, such a system may be ideal for both customers and store owners as items will be printed out quickly enough to keep customers around, shopping longer as they wait.
Piecemaker was founded in March of last year by Alejandro Sklar and Arden Rosenblatt, and is always looking for new locations and partners for their toy manufacturing system.
Have you paid a visit to either Toys’R’Us location? Let us know what you thought about these PieceMaker kiosks in the Toys’R’Us 3D Printing forum thread on 3DPB.com.