Monday, February 17, 2014

3D Printed Snow Plow and Toy Customization



My son talks about the plow and the sounds it makes. The plow rumbles past our house, pushing a wall of snow. It "boops" when it backs down the street. Winter Storm Pax and the surrounding storms left us with too much snow. My son talked about his dump truck being a plow as he drove it up and down the arm of the sofa. I decided his Green Toys dump truck needed a plow attachment. I used digital calipers to measure the distances at the front of the truck. I printed a test part that was smaller and faster to print and model glued it together to test the design.

As a third grader building LEGO models of my own design I would have loved to have a contained axle and wheel set from LEGO that was 6 pegs wide instead of 4. This custom piece would have kept the proportions on my homemade Porche 911 model sexier, though at the time I didn't realize sexy was the quality I was working to achieve. 


This is what excites me about my son's toys! Any enhancement we imagine and can 3D model and print print extends the toy's usefulness and provides more engagement. 

Already, the subversively acronymed Free Universal Construction Kit allows "complete interoperability between 10 popular construction toys." What kinds of kit can you create to mash up one toy with another? How can upcycled materials personalize the toy and capture the object the child is interested in, such as a snow plow? Instead of purchasing a new toy, 3D printing creates bespoke additions or enhancements to existing toys.

Satisfied with the dimensions of the design, I went back to Tinkercad and improved on the design. I made the attachment a single piece, and I increased its size slightly to make it strong enough to be handled by a two and a half year old. If he breaks it we can print another! I released the design on Thingiverse and you can Tinker it as well. Keep on plowin'!