Why buy toys if you can 3d print them?


Here are a few reasons

Why buy toys if you can 3d print them? /img/phatic-3d-printing.jpg

A few days ago, a parent proudly posted on social media some photographs (not the ones you see here) of several toys he had happily, proudly 3D-printed at home for his 6-years old son. Discussion ensued.

Background, in case you are wondering: this activity is relatively easy for every parent with a bit of spare skill, money, time and desk space at home. Basically, once you have the 3D printer all you have to do is download into it the design files you available, on Thingiverse and similar portals, for train sets, Duplo Playgrounds and many more toys.

As I said, discussion ensued. A few of its contents may be relevant for every parent pondering the same question, so here they are.

So, why buy toys for your kids, if you can 3d-print them at home?

Sensible Objection: Maybe because commercial toys are not non-toxic? (Answer: it depends on the filament used)

Hard To Criticize Objection: why 3D-print toys (and almost anything else, in the current “forced-consumerism” society, if you ask me) at home, if you can buy them at ridiculously low prices?

100% Indisputable Fact, answered to the above objection: “Easy: because it’s the father is actually playing, not the children!”

Possibly definitive answer: (from the dad who asked the original question): “I thought so too, but I changed my mind. I will now start designing toys with my 6 year old son, to stimulate his design skills, and have fun together.”

Why only “possibly” definitive?

Having fun together with his or her parents is an essential component of every child’s education. Even “stimulating one’s design skills” is hard to criticize. Just remember, if you are a parent asking whether to 3D-print toys at home or not:

  • that your child may have totally different interest and skills than 3D printing
  • that a family 3D printer can be a marvelous thing to use, but only if it is regularly used. If you aren’t sure that the 3D printer will end up in the attic after the first 2 months, just bring your children to the nearest Makerspace, instead! Please.
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