Twin Toys makes colourful, safe, and engaging toys for children – designed and 3D-printed in the UK with recycled bio-plastic.
Twin Toys’ aim is to make children’s toys that are fully circular from using recycled bio-plastics and 3d printing, to being able to return them end of life to be remade into something new. All toys are designed, 3D-printed, and sold in the UK to reduce impact on the environment and ensure materials are recirculated where they are created.
The idea for Twin Toys was created by Director, Susie Page, who is a mum of three years old twins, and an environmental professional working in the corporate sector.
She says, ‘plastic can be a great material for children’s toys as its versatile and brightly coloured. There are very few toy makers offering alternatives to virgin based plastic toys, and while wooden toys are great and we have plenty of those, I wanted to create products with plastic that are fully circular and aim to reduce environmental impact’.
Susie Page, Director, Twin Toys Ltd
Twin Toys are launching with three shape-based toys targeted at 12+ months to support children’s skills with building, stacking and identifying different shapes and colours.
For several weeks during the Chinese spring holiday manufacturing in the country was on a hiatus. Now with the coronavirus outbreak the Chinese government is very sensibly asking manufacturing to remain slowed to prevent its spread. But unfortunately this means that components are not being made that might be time sensitive in the US and other countries. 3D Printing offers a flexible and affordable alternative to getting your parts manufactured while China is slowed due to health concerns.
Production Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), is able to produce 10,000's of parts each week. Ir is particularly useful when producing functional plastic parts. These included brackets and braces for furniture and gears and knobs for industrial equipment.
All that is needed to start production of a part is a 3D model. There is no tooling cost and now minimum volumes. This offers a quick and affordable alternative to injection molding.
If your company or project is delayed because of the shutdown of Chinese manufacturing please reach out with 3D model of your part and we will work to get you back on schedule quickly and efficiently.
Ducting and cooling create very complex plastic components for consumer and industrial products. Historically these parts have had to be roto or injection molded. The problem is that many of these parts are for limited production runs. So the cost of tooling can be very high. This is an area where production 3D Printing can make a very large difference, by completely eliminating the cost of Tooling while manufacturing plastic ducting and venting.
A Project that was recently completed at Slant 3D was several hundred cooling vents for a piece of medical equipment. These vents distribute air to multiple chambers during a testing process. Normally a piece like the one below would have to be broken into multiple pieces and then molded. The process could take up to 12 weeks and would still require assembly. At Slant 3D we were able to take the design, perform some slight modifications for 3D printing and then produce 100 sets within 10-14 days at a fraction of the cost. And since there were no molds the client was able to make modification and return with a new iteration of the design several months later.
A Much simpler example is just the covers on Ducting itself. Locally Slant 3D works with a company called Silverdraft Computing, who manufactures high performance machines for VR and rendering operations.
Silverdraft needed several hundred vent covers for their computers. They wanted to maintain their logo on all hardware so they designed a vent that was custom to them.
Normally such a piece would have cost over 5000 dollars in molding alone, and required several weeks to complete. At Slant 3D we took the 3D model and produced 100 parts in just 2 days so that they could hit their production targets. Production of parts like this now continue, and as Silverdraft grows they are able to take advantage of larger scale pricing. It is likely that parts like this will never be molded.
In the more industrial context ducting is used in factories and large pieces of machinery to move large quantities of air or material.
This large duct made for House of Design on one of their projects was made to move air and actual parts and pieces to a delivery bin. It had to be durable long term. And the part had to be on the shelf in less than a day.
Slant 3D finished the part less than a day after it was ordered and has since produced many of these parts for inventory and new machines.
A large part of this would have cost more than 10,000 dollars to mold, and severl thousand to machine. 3D printing was able to produce the first part for several hundred dollars. And today it can be mass produced by the hundreds for a few dollars.
Production 3D printing is able to produce vents large and small, simple and complex. And it is able to do it faster and cheaper than any other process. Clients get parts fast, at any volume they need, and with any specs they need, all from just a 3D model file.
Get Your Part Quoted with Production 3D Printing.
Getting you product manufactured with 3D printing rather than injection molding is a great option to reduce the cost of getting started.
We've pulled together the basic steps of getting your product manufactured with Slant 3D so you know what to expect.
Etsy is a great platform to produce customized items for customers. Many etsy stores are popping up that create customized 3D Printed items such as cookie cutters, lamps, and other items.
Most Etsy stores have to buy and maintain 3D Printers in order to produce 3D printed items. Which just adds that much more work onto a full-time job of operating and marketing your store as well as creating new designs, not to mention the cost of buying those machines. But it is possible to outsource all of the manufacturing a fullfillment so that etsy sellers can focus on product design and manufacturing.
How It Works
Get a Design or Idea for a Product
To 3D print a product there has to be a computer 3D model of it. Slant 3D can help you create this. Or you can use resources like Fiverr and Freelancer.com.
Submit the Design
When the 3D model is ready you can submit it for a quote. A sales engineer will be put in contact with you and they will get you a quote to manufacture the product for your store and ship it to your customers when orders come in. All designs that are submitted to Slant 3D are kept confidential and will not be shared or utilized.
Start your Store
If you accept the quote then we will finalize the details and help you connect your etsy store so that when orders arrive they can be printed and shipped to your customer.
We 3D Print and Ship
When an order comes into your store. We will be notified or you can submit the 3D model to us (if it is custom) we will then 3D print the model and ship it to your customer.
Have the Resources to grow as big and as fast as you need
When you work with Slant 3D you have a the resources of one of the world's largest 3D Printing Farms to support you. Slant 3D is able to produce 10,000 parts per week and that is growing all the time. So as you sell more you can be sure that the infrastructure is there to support you.
How Long Does is Take for a Product to be Printed?
Slant 3D works to produce any 3D printed part within 1-3 business days. So if your customer orders a custom cookie cutter on Tuesday, it will be shipped out to them no later than Friday.
Since Slant 3D operates at such a large scale so smaller new products and stores can take advantage of of our economies and automation. That makes our cost of production very low.
There is a monthly membership fee of $50 and then the quoted cost to produce your product. We understand the challenge to start a new store. But there are no minimum quantities, and you only pay for parts when a customer buys from them.
What is the Quality?
All of the Etsy stores that we have worked with have only 5 star reviews. BakersStreetCutters is a great example. We do not let quality drop. And if an order is not up to spec? We will reprint, reship, and refund the order immediately.
Can I do more than 1 Item?
You can do infinite items. We work with stores that do customization of every single item. So a doorstop may have a name engraved. And we work with stores that have 5-20 core products that we manufacture or support them with. There are no restrictions on the number of designs that we can produce for you.
What 3D Printing Process do you use?
We use the FDM 3D printing. This is most commonly used on Etsy and is the lowest cost 3D printing process in existence. And it allows our clients to access low cost hardware for prototyping of new designs.
Etsy is a great platform that has great opportunity for 3D printed products. And now it is easier than ever to start a small online business with 3D printed designs. All you have to do is upload a design, setup an etsy, store and pay when someone pays you.
The cost to launch a new product is nothing. And there is no inventory and no hassle of printing and shipping the item. Now you can focus on the design and sales of your products.
Printer Farm Beta will produce hundreds of thousands of 3D Printed parts as an alternative to Injection Molding.
Since 2017 Slant 3D has been working to make mass production of 3D Printed FDM parts viable. We have designed and manufactured brand new 3D Printers such as the Mason. We have built one of the world's largest 3D printing farms. And we have started production of 3D filament in order to reduce cost to our customers. But now we are taking another large step. In 2020 Slant 3D will open a factory that will contain 800 automated 3D Printers. Called Printer Farm Beta, this will be the largest 3D Printing farm in the world.
Printer Farm Beta will dramatically increase the production capacity of Slant 3D. Allowing us to produce hundreds of thousands of 3D printed parts each month at cost and scale 3D printing has never achieved before.
The facility will be operated much like a server farm. Rows of machines will autonomously produce parts that will collect in bins until technicians retrieve them. Primary conveyors running down the center of the factory will deliver the bins of parts to Quality Control and Shipping
All 3D Printers operate independently. Slant 3D Printers can produce parts for days without human interaction. The entire facility will be operated and monitored through the Cloud. The few technicians present will maintain and repair 3D printers as needed and ensure that all parts are produced to the client's specifications.
The facility will open Feburary 1st, 2020. And will immediately begin production to help our clients start and grow their product lines.
Slant 3D is on a mission to make manufacturing as simple as app development. Printer Farm Beta will truly make 3D printing a large scale alternative to injection molding at any volume.
The layer lines from the creation of a 3D part are often considered to be a bad feature of large scale additive manufacturing. But how bad are they and what are some solutions that make 3D Printed parts better than injection molded.
When part is made with high volume production 3D Printing, it is composed of individual layers. Much like the coil pots made from the playdough snakes that you created in kindergarten, only 1000 times smaller (5-30 microns).
Depending on the resolution a part is printed at (generally low resolution for functional pieces and high resolution for cosmetic pieces) the layers can be more or less pronounced. But unavoidably the virgin surface of even a very high resolution part will have a "linearity" to it that is unavoidable even if the layer lines are not individually visible. And the only way to eliminate the layer texture entirely is to post process the part somehow. Either through painting or sanding.
But is that surface finish really a bad thing. Photos below show some average cosmetic and engineering parts made with production FDM 3D Printing.
Why is the Linear Texture Bad?
Let us ask this question. Why are molded parts smooth? Because it is better looking? Actually no. Molds are smooth because they have to be. Did you know that an injection molded part can't really have a texture without incurring huge expenses and design changes.
It is exceptionally difficult to apply a texture to molded or machined parts. Because it adds so much complexity to a part. Whereas smooth surfaces are very easy to create and produce.
Smooth parts are a result of limited engineering. Not of actual design. We like smooth parts because we have always had smooth parts. Not because we chose to have parts with a smooth surface finish.
But 3D Printed parts are not so limited. Textures can be applied for free.
3D Printing Creates Textures for Free
Since 3D Printing is designed to grow a part slowly it is able to give that part any sort of feature or surface finish that is desired by the client. This means that textures are not some secondary process that must be done later. A texture can be designed in CAD and then literally printed with the part.
Below is an example of our Texture Cube and Sample Brick. With or without the complex textures on the surface, these parts cost the same to manufacture. That is not the case with traditional methods. And 3D printing can apply any texture you want. From fuzz to diamonds.
These textures have a huge number of applications. They make it possible to print grips onto handles. Create a toy with a truly unique look and feel. Or at the most basic level, hide the layer line of the 3D print so that it is more affordable to manufacture
With production 3D Printing you have the equivalent of grain in wood. Only you control the direction and look of the grain.
Hiding the Layer Lines with Textures
The Textures perform a very simple function outside of the purely functional. They help on the asthetic side to hide the layer lines.
A texture on a 3D Printed part can be applied to overwhelm the appearance of the the layer lines. This is very evident in the Red Texture cube above. It is impossible to tell the 3D Printed part from an injection molded part.
Below are a few parts where the surface of the part was roughened so that the layer lines would be hidden and the surface of the solver part would sparkle.
Hiding the Layer Lines with Material
If a texture of any sort is out of the question. Then there is another option. Create the illusion that the linear texture is not present.
The reason layer lines are so visible in 3D Printed parts is because the parts are often monochromatic. So each layer catches and reflects the light, highlighting the layer on the single color part.
This problem can be addressed by using a material with particulates added that either roughen it or add specks through the color. This breaks up the appearance of the part and the layer lines are not visible.
A good example is shown below with marble-colored filament. The finished part actually looks and feels like stone, even though it was made with 3D printing at a relatively low resolution (larger than normal layer lines)
Lean into the Layer Lines
All of this comes to the point where layer lines are just a part of the process. Just like smoothness is just a part of injection molding. Neither is bad or good. It is just a part of the process. And as part of the process you can use it as a strength rather than as something to hide.
The Layer lines in 3D Printing are line the grain in wood. It is random and can look messy. Until someone with skill figures out how to turn that wood into a beautiful table. Designers can do the same with 3D Printed layer lines. And actually do so makes them more like wood than many people think.
Above is a part that was printed with wood-filled PLA filament, at a relatively low resolution. But the layer lines add to the model. They actually give the wooden piece a grain. So that is looks like it was carved from a solid piece of tree trunk. That is practically impossible to achieve with other processes.
But the designer found a way to use the layer lines of 3D Printing as an advantage.
The Layer lines of 3D printed parts are often considered a problem. But they don't have to be. There are many ways of eliminating or hiding the layer lines of mass produced 3D printed parts.
But good designers will recognize them as simple a feature of the process. A feature that can be exploited to create products that were never possible before.
Need Help Getting your Product Manufactured? Submit a Model for a Free Quote.
High volume 3D Printing is production of more than 1,000 3D Printed parts as an alternative to injection molding.
The Benefits of High Volume 3D Printing
No Up Front Costs, Flexible Design, and Flexible Supply.
The Largest Benefit of production 3D Printing is that elimination of molding costs. 3D Printing does not require a mold. So all of that up front cost disappears
At low volumes 3D Printing can be expensive per part, but when you move past 1000, that added cost is negligible.
3D Printing is also a perfectly on-demand process. So you do not have to order 10,000's of parts and then warehouse them for months with the risk of none of them selling. You order what you need when you need it and it is produced then. No more, no less. In fact, at Slant 3D we support on-demand manufacturing. So a Part is made and shipped only when it is ordered.
The combination of those factors allow companies to test, iterate, and scale much faster than with molding. With Production 3D Printing if a design needs to be changed all that has to change is the CAD file. Then every part made after is updated. This is just like changing the color of your website. Companies can now iterate and test in production on products.
How it is Done
3D Printer Farm
At Slant 3D we deploy hundreds of FDM 3D Printers that run 24/7 making parts. With this process each individual part can take quite a bit of time to make. It might take an hour to make a part. But if 100 machines are making that part, we are now producing at 100 parts an hour and 2400 parts per day.
This type of system is called a 3D Printer Farm. Currently Slant 3D operates the largest commercial FDM 3D Printing farm in the US.
High Speed 3D Printing
With this process manufacturers use large single machines that are very fast.
For example Carbon 3D uses a Light-Resin technology to produce parts very quickly. So instead of a part requiring hours it can be done in minutes. This replaces the hundreds of machines with just a few machines. But if a machine breaks down then all of production stops.
HP Multijet Fusion is another high speed machine. But it is best optimized by producing hundreds of small parts in a single batch. Because the machine has to be stopped and the bins with the parts removed each time. With all other processes the part removal is much faster.
Where to Have it Done
High volume 3D Printing is not a common resource but there are a number of companies that can product 1000's of part for you in a number of different specs
Carbon 3D - SLA
Carbon will connect you with its production partners that can produce high resolution resin 3D Prints.
Slant 3D - FDM
Slant 3D Operates one of the largest 3D Printing Farms in the world. You can submit a design directly to them and they quote you within 1-2 days.
Forecast 3D - MJF
Forecast 3D is one of the original HP partners on MJF. They are experienced and able to produce large quantities of small parts very readily.
There are literally hundreds of 3D Printing companies out there. But who does what. Here are several of the most popular 3D Printing service companies for your next prototype or production project.
Carbon 3D - Resin-Based 3D Printing
For very intricate parts that require a smooth surface finish.
Carbon 3D manufactures high speed SLA 3D Printers using thier Carbon CLIP technology. These printers are used to create dentures, Bicycle seats, and even a line of shoes for Adidas.
The surface finish of SLA parts is very good, comparable to injection molding, but they can be expensive if they are very large or low volume. SLA is also able to handle very fine features well that are impossible with any of the other processes.
Carbon will connect you to services that use their technology. One of the most well known partners is Fast Radius. They have also worked with adidas to manufacture the Alphaedge 4D shoe.
Slant 3D - High Volume 3D Printing
Functional and cost effective alternative to injection molding at scales up to 100,000 pieces
Slant 3D operates one of the largest capacity 3D printer farms in the world. The original facility is able to produce 10,000 parts per week and Slant 3D is about to open an even larger facility with over 800 machines in the printer farm.
Slant 3D uses the FDM 3D Printing process. These parts are robust and excellent for functional products and industrial components. Slant 3D also produces pieces for consumer products and is able to fulfill orders as they are made.
Forecast 3D - Multijet Fusion
Functional parts based in nylon for engineering and functional applications.
Forecast 3D actually utilizes a large number of 3D printing processes. A company that has been in operation since the 90's Forecast was among the first to implement HP Multijet Fusion. Today they operate 24 MJF machines and made more than 1 million parts in the first year.
MJF is a process that creates high surface finish parts that are nearly isotropic. But it is limited to gray/black coloring and is only viable for production on pieces that are smaller.
Shapeways - Laser Sintering
Delicate and fine detail parts from specialty materials
Shapeways is easily one of the oldest 3D printing services. Started in 2007 they have established themselves as an online print on demand platform for designers. Shapeways offers predominantly laser sintering services. Which allows them to create fine detail items ranging from rubber-like plastic to gold.
If you are a jewelry designer or have a small and precise part to make Shapeways is a good option.
Voodoo Manufacturing - FDM
One-off prints to test a part and potentially scale up to 100-1000
Voodoo Manufacturing is another larger FDM printer farm. Utilizing Replicator II Makerbot machines and Formlabs SLA parts Voodoo is able to produce 1-off parts very quickly and quite affordably. Their 3D Printer farm of nearly 150 machines also allows you to scale up production to nearly 1000 parts.
Selection of Suppliers with defined standards and various 3D Printing Processes.
Another old name in the 3D Printing world. 3D Hubs was started as a network of independent garage 3D printers. In 2017-2018 they refocused on industrial 3D Printing.
They now connect customers with 3D printing services that are ISO certified and held to very high standards. They are an excellent resource for finding new suppliers and having prototypes produced that are engineering grade.
Injection Molding has been the primary means of producing large quantities of plastic parts for nearly 100 years. 3D Printing has been a means of prototyping for only about 30 years. But they are beginning to overlap. And there are many reasons that 3D Printing is starting to become a better alternative to injection molding.
The key advantage of production 3D Printing is that it does not require molds. A design can be changed simply by changing a CAD design. This means that companies can produce several versions of the same physical product at scale and test how they sell. This is much how internet companies test different versions of a website to see how they perform.
The ability to iterate without setting a part into stone, allows companies to test products, and make changes based on customer needs. It also allows companies to have many variations of the same product made without extra cost in order to address different customer niches.
3D Printing is able to produce hundreds of thousands of parts at a cost similar to injection molding. But it is also able to produce just a few parts at a price that is much less than injection molding. This means that a company company can make 10 pieces of a product, test market those, and then make 100 pieces. Then a 1000, then 10,000.
3D Printing is very scalable. So a small business can start with small production runs and then scale up to whatever the demand for the product is. This means that no cost is ever wasted. The parts can be made as needed without much need for warehousing or inventory or any kind.
The way most 3D printing printing processes work, especially FDM, there are far fewer constraints on geometry than with molding. Parts can be made thick with a hollow honeycomb interior so that they are stronger than molded parts. Holes can be cut that curve through the parts, again impossible with injection molding.
Something as simple as a solid 2 inch cube is impossible to produce with injection molding. But is simple and very affordable with 3D Printing.
Another large advantage of 3D printing is the precise control of the surface of the part. 3D Printed parts can have a texture applied to them while they are being made. So the texture is basically free to add to the part.
There is a common misconception that 3D Printing is far more expensive than injection molding. This may have been true 5 years ago. But it is no longer.
At Slant 3D we find that on average we can produce up to 20-50,000 parts or more before a mold becomes more economical than 3D printing. This is not only because of the cost of the mold. But the cost of warehousing and wasted product. Generally 10% of the cost of a final product is in the inventory. And often 10-20% of all inventory is just not sold.
Since production 3D Printing allows parts to be made on demand it is possible to produce parts only as needed. So less warehousing is needed and there is never unsold inventory. In some cased Slant 3D will only produce parts for a client once those parts are sold, so there is never any inventory or wasted product.
The fact that production 3D printing is reaching a point where is is simply more efficient to produce parts with than injection molding, and give companies the ability to better address product problems makes is very compelling compared to molding.
There is also the fact that the design freedom of 3D printing allows businesses to address individual niches very affordably. So even though 3D printing can't yet make the Millions of parts that molding can, the necessity for that volume may not be necessary. Why sell 1 million of a single product when you can sell 1000, of 100 different products that each customer would like better.
3D Printing very likely will drive the market away from injection molding. The high up front cost and lack of flexibility will simply become to expensive.
Interested in having your product manufactured with Production 3D Printing. Get a free quote from Slant 3D within 1-2 business day.