AMS Spring 2023

Air Racer – The 3D Printable, Balloon Powered, Grand Prix Race Cars

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airracer2When it comes to 3D printing toys, there are a plethora of choices to choose from on sites like Thingiverse and Youmagine. There are spinning tops, action figures, toy elephants, and even cars that print in one piece but still manage to have moving wheels. The technology is amazing, and I think my 5-year-old nephew would agree. Custom toys at a touch of a button: what more could a kid want?

I must admit that when it comes to 3D printing, I have probably printed out more toys than anything else. I’m still a child at heart, so when I came across the Air Racer – 3D Grand Prix on Thingiverse, I had to use all my willpower to to keep myself from squealing like an excited 5-year-old boy.

airracer4The Air Racer – 3D Grand Prix is a 3D printable race car, but unlike the other 3D printable toy cars you will find on the internet, this one is special. It is powered by a balloon, which helps propel it across the floor, track, road, or whatever other surface you can find. And it does so in unbelievable fashion!

Designed by a man named Philippe Disse [aka. “Bon Garçon”], Creative Director at ÉtoileMaastricht, this may just be my favorite toy yet. Disse, also the founder of mustano.com, bonaparte-paysbas.com, ucki.com, viennawoods.com and bbonarcon.nl, is known for his unique 3D printed jewelry designs.

“After seeing the documentary ‘Print the Legend’ on November 10th this year, I decided to design free 3D objects and share [them with] the world,” Disse tells 3DPrint.com. “I think it’s important [that] people ‘play’ more with their 3D-printer(s) to learn a bit more [on] ‘how to improve’ themselves.”

airracer1The 3D printed Air Racer is 15cm in length including an air-tube. Users place a balloon on the driver’s head and hold it firmly while they blow air into one of the tailpipes. At the same time, the other tailpipes should be covered with a finger to prevent air from escaping. This will blow the balloon up, and once it’s full, Drisse suggests putting it on the ground in a “nice open space”, prior to releasing.

The results? Exhilaration! Whether you are a 5-year-old boy or a 33-year-old adult, you will surely get a kick out of these fun little air-powered race cars.

Drisse tells us he created these cars for the “interactive fun of it”, and he has more hopes and plans for further development.

“[I’m] hoping that a few fellow designers will join a constructor team to improve and design a new ‘Air Racer’ & create a 3D-Grand Prix,” he explained

Without a doubt, myself and others would love to see more interactive toys like Drisse’s Air Racers hit free 3D printing repository sites like Thingiverse in the future.

What do you think about this unique design? Have you printed an Air Racer yourself? How did it run? Discuss in the 3D printed Air Racer forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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