Jason Dallam fell in love with the magic of 3D printing when he was in his final year of undergraduate studies at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. During that time, he had access to a 3D printer that he could experiment with and found that he really enjoyed the process and the production. At first, he mostly printed open source prints; small toys, knick-knacks, and the like. After a conversation with a friend of his, a new idea emerged: printing toys to donate to the Northwest Children’s Outreach.
Northwest Children’s Outreach is a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that works to provide children in the area with the basic necessities that they sometimes go without. They supply items such as diapers, clothing, and infant care products. Dallam’s friend, a volunteer at the organization, expressed the need that these children have for toys and the idea of the Toy Lab was born.
Dallam turned to Kickstarter to secure the funding to start up what he envisions as a business with a charitable side. Through Kickstarter, he is seeking to raise $5,500 that will allow him to purchase the Taz 4 3D Printer, 3 head attachments, and 35 spools of colored plastic filament as well as to cover the cost of shipping out the rewards for donations.
In addition to developing toy designs that would be sold for profit as a way of earning a living (hopefully!), Dallam would create toy designs that could be printed and donated to Northwest Children’s Outreach. He envisions donating approximately 500 of these printed creations by the end of April. The plan is to continually work to create, donate, and sell so that there is a steady flow of fun for the kids who need it most.
Dallam hopes that by designing and printing his own toys he will also be able to create fun products that are safer than those that are currently mass produced by most companies. He is researching materials and designs in order to better understand the products and the requirements of the toy industry, one of the most strictly regulated industries in the United States. Learning from problems in toy production’s past, such as the use of lead paint, will help him understand what to avoid and there certainly are a number of fantastic toys out there that can serve as examples as he develops his designs.
For those who donate to the project, their inner child could be rewarded with a small printed toy, for a donation of $10, all the way to a large printed toy for a donation of $100 with all rewards being mailed out by the end of February.
This idea is perfectly timed for the holiday season and we wish Dallam the best of luck!
Let us know what you think of this idea of toys for kids at the 3D Printed Toy Lab forum thread at 3DPB.com.