The potential 3D printing has within various industries, especially the toy industry, could be staggering. Not only is this good news for 3D printer manufacturers, and toy manufacturers such as Hasbro and Mattel, but also for children themselves. 3D printing opens up a door to creativity which would never have been made possible prior to its existence.
Children have always loved creating things, whether it’s on paper, via a drawing, or in the 3-dimensional world via building blocks like Legos. 3D printing only takes things a step further, unveiling an entirely new means of creation. The problem, however, is that 3D printers are not typically suited for younger children to operate because of their high extrusion temperatures and fast moving mechanical parts. Certainly parents can intervene and help out, but the best learning experiences are the ones that are completely hands-on.
This is at least what Japan’s Bonsai Lab Inc. believes, which has driven them to release a brand new 3D printer called the BS Toy. The printer was unveiled this week at Spielwarenmesse, a trade show on toys in Nuremberg, Germany.
Bonsai Lab, known for their BS01 line of 3D printers, and based in the Minami-Azabu district of Tokyo, has teamed up with a company called Polymakr LLC to develop a special flexible filament known as LT80 for their BS Toy 3D printer. Why was a special filament required? Why couldn’t typical ABS or PLA filament be used within this machine? That’s because it’s made for children.
The LT80 filament is able to be extruded from the BS Toy 3D Printer at just 80°C (176°F). This is in comparison to PLA which requires an extrusion temperature of around 180°C (356°F), and ABS which requires an even higher temperature. Although 80°C is still quite hot to the touch, it does present a safer environment for children to be around, and the filament is also composed of raw materials which have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The BS Toy printer features the following general specifications:
- Printer size: 200 x 200 x 200mm
- Printer Weight: 2kg
- Build Envelope: 130 x 125 x 100mm
- Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm (standard) 0.2 – 0.5mm optional
- Filament type: LT80 flexible filament
Because of the filament’s low melting point, it will be interesting to see how objects printed with it hold up to high temperatures seen within the actual environment. The company plans on officially launching the BS Toy 3D Printer sometime before the end of 2015. At that time, the LT80 filament will be avaiable in multiple colors. An exact price for this machine has yet to be announced.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this new ‘child safe’ 3D printer in the BS Toy forum thread on 3DPB.com