July 21, 2014

The Rhode Island-based multinational toy company Hasbro plans to announce on Monday a partnership with a 3D printing company, Shapeways, to sell 3D printed art inspired by its popular toy line My Little Pony.

Hasbro has long been known for making toys and games based on movies and TV shows for more than 180 markets around the world. The toy maker started the Transformers franchise in 1984, and has constinuously expanded the brand into other media, including mobile apps, video games, live-action movies, and theme park rides.

But when Hasbro focused on Transformers movies, the sales of toy lines declined. In February Hasbro announced a co-venture with 3D Systems to co-develop, co-venture and deliver creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year, hoping to generate a bit of marketing hype and keep pace with the game-changing 3D printing technology. on May 9th, Hasbro filed a new 3D printing trademark application for the term "Allspark", which includes computer software program for designing and customizing 3D files for 3D printing and a website that allows users to download, design, or share 3D printable models.

"We have been investigating 3-D printing for quite a while, as have many people," said John Frascotti, chief marketing officer at Hasbro. "What 3-D printing truly empowers is the creation of artwork that maybe wouldn't make sense for mass production, but it makes sense for a unique item."

For this project Hasbro will work with five artists and their work will be printed in full color sandstone, a plastic polymer material with a coarse finish and a delicate feel via Shapeways. The artists will have the freedom to decide the price and their work will be sold online via project's website. Mr. Frascotti described it as "mass customization."

One 3D printed object that will be available for sale is 'Spike, Take a Letter (≈130mm tall)' by artist Brian Harris. The piece is priced at $99. The model is created by printing binder material and colored ink layer-by-layer into a bed of gypsum-based powder. After printing, the models are finished with a cyanoacrylate (super glue) sealant to ensure durability and vivid colors.

Spike, Twilight's faithful assistant, writes a letter destined for Celestia to report findings on the magic of friendship. Twilight has learned many valuable lessons since moving to Ponyville, but on rare occasions, Spike has also reported his own discoveries to Celestia.

Another nice piece is 'My Little Pony - Rarity' by Melinda Rose which represents the Element of Generosity, and is printed at approximately 75mm/3" tall.

Hasbro hopes to expand the partnership to include more artists, more of its brands and other materials, according to NY Times. So instead of snapping a tight lid over its characters, Hasbro is offering endless potential to bring incredible new play experiences for kids.

"Instead of trying to prohibit it, they're enabling it, and I think that's awesome," said Peter Weijmarshausen, chief executive of Shapeways. "By embracing this new technology, it's good for everybody. The end-user is happy because he or she gets what they want, and we don't get into a fight."


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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