Harnessing the Power of 3D Printing to Bring Joy: Christmas Gifts for Children


As the festive season is upon us, it is a time to remember the less fortunate and engage in acts of giving. The spirit of Christmas extends into innovative methods, such as 3D printing. For five consecutive years, IC3D rallies the 3D printing community to produce 3D printed toys as donations to Toys for Tots, anticipating a record in contributions this year.

Toys for Tots is a U.S. Marine-initiated program, aimed at collecting unwrapped, new toys to be distributed to children less fortunate during Christmas. Established in 1991, the charity is widely accepted and consistently ranks among America’s top-rated charitable organizations. The contribution from IC3D, and their efforts to organize 3D printed toys for Toys for Tots, is a more recent development.

Inception of this innovative donation practice began in 2018, although thought of back in 2015. IC3D called upon “3D printing experts” nationally to create and donate 3D printed toys to Toys for Tots. The first year saw approximately 150 toys manufactured, but the numbers have rapidly increased since. Last year, IC3D donated an astonishing 69,000 3D printed toys to children in need via Toys for Tots. This year, the aim is set even higher, with the count currently at 77,799 toys and a targeted goal of 85,000.

Using 3D Printing to Make Toys

As mentioned, this effort is organized by IC3D, an all-in-one 3D printing service bureau that sells its own filament and printers and that is based in Ohio. However, the project touches lives across the countr. This is because the so-called 3D printing elves work through local volunteer regional coordinators, named ElfHubs, to create 3D printed toys before they are received, inspected and delivered to Toys for Tots chapters in the area.

This year, an astonishing 406 3D printing elves have volunteered their services to make these 3D printed toys. Not only that, but $16,000 has already been donated to offset the costs of making the toys. Indeed, anyone interested can use their own 3D printers and the many 3D files made available by elves like Javi Rodríguez, alias McGybeer, or Joe Larson, better known as the 3D Printing Professor on YouTube, with toys like 3D printed trains, articulated animals and more.

Chris Gawronski from the Network for Adaptive Human Technology, a 501(c)(3) public charity that helps organize fiscal sponsorships in order to overcome costs associated with the operation, commented, “It is wonderful to be a part of bringing joy to children, especially when it is through the incredible efforts of the Toys for Tots program. NAHT hopes its ongoing efforts to support Toys for Tots helps to raise awareness about the flexibility and unique benefits of 3D printing technology and how it can be harnessed to advance human potential.” You can find out more about the project for Toys for Tots, or become a sponsor HERE.

Articulated cats that can be made using an STL file donated by McGybeer to make 3D printed toys for Toys for Tots (photo credits: McGybeer)

Original source


“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”

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