AMS Spring 2023

The 3D Printed Shock-Absorbing Crawly Ball is Unlike Anything You’ve Seen Before

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crawlyfeaturedDid you ever step back and think about who invented your favorite childhood toys? You know, things like the Rubik’s Cube, hula hoop, Etch-A-Sketch and NERF balls. These individuals or companies literally made millions of dollars coming up with a completely unique idea that could garner the attention of children for hours on end. Did you ever imagine what it would be like to invent your own toy?

crawly4If your name is Dalton Bissell, then the answer is yes. Bissell has made a hobby and potentially a career off of designing aesthetically pleasing jewelry, models and miniature replicas of products, as well as unique toys which even the most mature adults would have a hard time putting down. One of Bissell’s latest creations is a toy that he calls the Crawly Ball.

“I had been wanting to test for myself just how strong and flexible Shapeways’ material ‘White Strong and Flexible’ (WSF) could be,” Bissell tells 3DPrint.com. “The design for Crawly Ball came up in my sketch book one day as I was thinking of ways that I could stress the material. I wanted to test the impact resistance and flexibility I could achieve with WSF with a small print. The parts of Crawly work together to do that in a small, fun, and interesting way.”

crawlySo Bissell modeled the design that he had in his head using ZBrush, iterated upon it three times, and then sent it off to Shapeways to have it 3D printed. After each round of iteration, Bissell critiqued his design with a group of peers, before making changes based off of the feedback he had received.

So what exactly is the purpose of the Crawly Ball, other than its cool appearance?

“Crawly Ball has so much personality that it even looks a little sad when you leave it alone,” Bissell explains. “And while I think that personality is Crawly Ball’s greatest trait, playing with it is also great for relieving stress or boredom while stuck at a desk or feeling sick,” he says. “It’s a shock absorbing, indoor safe, flexible plastic ball of fun.”

If he finds that the Crawly Ball sells well enough on Shapeways, he may next launch a crowdfunding campaign for it on Kickstarter in order to make the overall production more affordable and allow for the creation of larger sized models.

“It would be great to make one the size of a basketball, but for the time being that’s out of the budget,” Bissell explains.

The Crawly Ball can be purchased from Shapeways starting at $35, and it is now available in several different colors, including purple, blue, red, pink, yellow, green, orange, black and white.

What do you think? Does this have the potential to be the next Rubik’s Cube or Hula Hoop? Discuss in the 3D Printed Crawly Ball forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the ball in action below.

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