TOYSHOP UK DEBATES: Will 3D printing revolutionise the toy industry for the better?

Robert Hutchins

By Robert Hutchins

April 27th 2015 at 11:30AM
UPDATED April 27th 2015 at 12:08PM
TOYSHOP UK DEBATES: Will 3D printing revolutionise the toy industry for the better?

In a new feature, ToyShop UK asks its listers if they agree or disagree with a particular statement. This time, it's the prickly issue of 3D Printing.

FOR

Models R Go,
John Guiver

“I agree with the statement but it certainly wouldn’t be better for the retailers as the manufacturer could simply sell the electronic files to the end user and completely by-pass the retail chain. But it may be good for the end customer. And it will certainly be good if you’re a 3D printer retailer.”

AutoMattic Comics and Toys,
Matt Booker

“I agree with the statement. Manufacturers can cut development costs down and speed up the process with licensees sending digital copies across the world to be printed. But home printing is a long way off being affordable at a decent quality. It will impact all toy retail.”

Final Frontier,
Julian Shelford

“It has already had an impact, and it is amazing watching it in action. It will hopefully produce better quality product and increase detail. The production of toy lines has always been adapting and the future looks exciting. The collectables side has already seen this with the Sideshow lines. As long as the manufacturers listen to their customers, it will be good. It might be a fad for the consumer but it will be good for retailers like us. I think technology is great. You want the industry to be exciting. It shouldn’t be stiff and starchy.”

AGAINST

Silly Billy’s Toy Shop,
Robert Williams

“It won’t be a revolution. It will only good for product development, prototyping and testing at this stage. I bought a 3D printer pen. It’s not great and the tech is not that advanced. I think it’s all more suited to a classroom than to a toy shop. They are good for what they are good for: modelling, but at the moment it’s all too fragile. We won’t touch it anyway as we’re a traditional store and I can’t see it as a threat because the quality at the moment isn’t great. With the 3D pen, you need to be an artist to use it, as well as know your way around different software applications. It’s not as simple as people think.”

Rainbow Gifts,
Colin Tindall

“It’s plastic fantastic for geeks. Where I stand, we are a traditional toy shop selling predominately wooden toys aimed at the one to eight year old range. 3D printing is something I am sure many teenagers will love for a while and move on to something new. It’s not even going to make any mark on the children’s toys we sell. Imagine the safety risks too. We want to stay traditional so we wouldn’t go down that route anyway. Outside of our store, I don’t believe it will have an impact on the wider toy industry either. It’s too techy an area and it takes time and effort to produce anything from a 3D printer and even then it’s got mixed results. I see as something more the computer electronics space rather than something that would interfere with the toy market.”