Nov 30, 2011
Comments Off on Could Origo’s 3D printer be the last toy your child will ever need?

Could Origo’s 3D printer be the last toy your child will ever need?

Children embrace 3D printing at TEDxKids in Brussels

Easy design interface + 3D Printing = excited and engaged children, creating their own fun

As children our imaginations were often central to our daily activities from crafting rockets and houses out of old boxes to creating characters with play-dough or simply sketching our ideas on paper, anything we could get our tiny hands on could be turned into something amazing, with just a bit of creativity. While many of us have lost this childhood ability, a lucky few have managed to convert this creativity into a career in design. For designers 3D printing has become the modelling tool of choice. Impossible designs can be sketched up on 3D CAD software and converted to physical models within hours with the help of local Rapid Prototyping bureaus or desktop 3D printers.

Nowadays children’s toys are becoming increasingly hi-tech with i-pods, mobiles and games consoles often ranking high on Christmas lists however one feature remains unchanged and that is the natural creativity of children. Enter Origo, a 3D printer  suitable for use by children as young as 10 years old.

Origo Prototype 3D printer

Origo will allow children to print items about the size of a large mug or medium jar in a few hours.

The Origo project was created as part of Artur Tchoukanov’s masters degree and aims to make 3D printing more accessible to people. Research demonstrated that adults found it difficult to grasp the notion of 3D printing as they had lost their childlike ability to create and dream up ideas without inhibition, the decision was clear, Origo’s target audience would be children. In an interview with Develop 3D,Co-founder of Origo, Joris Peels, explained

“kids are still natural makers, they sketch, draw and dream without limits. They lack only the skills to execute their whimsy. Origo was conceived as a tool to let kids make whatever they want. It was aimed at kids because they are the most able to take advantage of 3D printing at home”

Designs are created in 3DTin for printing on Origo

3DTin allows 3D modelling using simple rules like "don't make anything thinner than two blocks"

One of central challenges faced by the project was the need for users of 3D printers to know how to create a 3D model in CAD, a challenge for even the most technically savvy adult let alone a 10 year old. This initial challenge was overcome thanks to the creation of 3DTin, a free online modelling tool that requires no installation and allows for 3D models to be design using individual blocks. Put in the hands of children at TEDxKids in Brussels this software was quickly adopted resulting in the creation of dozens of really cool products and most importantly a bunch of really excited children.

Currently the project is still only in the design stages however the team are hopeful of taking the Origo printer from concept to production in less than eighteen months. Althought I might not have a ten year old of my own, the child in me looks forward to hearing news of a launch date, until then I guess I better start perfecting my 3D Tin design skills.

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