One of the key areas that we are seeing 3D printing play an expanding role, is in that of fabricating toys and games. Yes, those plastic little trinkets that some of you are getting tired of watching emerge from 3D printers across the globe, kids do indeed love. Just ask my little nephew. Think about it for a moment. Many popular toys, from army men to tic-tac-toe and Barrel of Monkeys, are all primarily plastic trinkets which could quite easily be 3D printed. What 3D printing does is turn Mommy and Daddy into the toy manufacturers, or perhaps a real life toy-making elf or Santa Claus at Christmas time, enabling them to customize these toys and choose between literally thousands of different designs.
Way back in February of last year, 3D Systems acquired a relatively small company, with a big following, called Digital PlaySpace. Digital Playspace was known for their interactive Digital Dollhouse game, which at the time of the acquisition had over 525,000 online members from around the world. Immediately following this acquisition, there was little information released in regards to 3D Systems’ ultimate plans for the newly acquired company, or how they intended to integrate the platform into their 3D printing ecosystem. Here we are 13 months later and details on these plans are beginning to trickle out. Even a web interface has been brought online.
3D Systems is a company that isn’t just satisfied with manufacturing 3D printers. They apparently want to capture as many vertical markets within the industry as possible, releasing 3D printers which cater to numerous markets such as consumers, manufacturers, caterers, artists, and more. They also want to create an ecosystem of content which provides the incentive for purchasing one of their machines. What better way to entice parents and children to purchase one of their Cube 3D printers than by releasing a web application that allows children to design a complete dollhouse, furniture, accessories and all, and then fabricate it in their own homes via that 3D printer?
“The app we put up quietly in December, and each month we’re releasing a room of furniture (this month is a dining room). In the next 60 days we’ll have a full modular doll house in 2 architecture styles so users can build and print a house as small or big as they like,” Alyssa Hoyt, Director of Marketing and Consumer Products of 3D Systems tells 3DPrint.com.
Within a couple of months children will be able to create their own doll house, pick out their furniture as well as any accessories, customize some of those pieces online, and then send them off to their parents’ 3D printer to be fabricated. Because of the limited build platform within a typical 3D printer, the actual structure of the house will be designed and then broken down into smaller modular units which will fit inside the 3D printer. Those pieces will then easily be able to be assembled into a house as large or as small as its creator desires.
“We have plans to merge the app with its experience-focused predecessor, the Facebook-housed Digital Dollhouse game where you virtually build and design your house,” Hoyt explained to 3DPrint.com.
Currently there are a handful of already designed doll house accessories ranging from refrigerators to beds to fruit bowls. They are all currently free to download and print at home. As for the online application which allows users to customize their own pieces of furniture, there are currently a handful of options available there as well. When a custom design is complete, a user will either be able to download the model for free, or order it already printed from Cubify.
Certainly it’s applications like these which will take 3D printing to the next level within the consumer space. It will be interesting to watch as the Digital Dollhouse concept continues to evolve. Let us know if you have tried out the application or downloaded any designs as of yet. Discuss in the Digital Dollhouse forum thread on 3DPB.com.