Feb. 20, 2015 | By Simon

While 3D printing file sharing sites such as Thingiverse and Shapeways have thousands of different possible products to download and 3D print, some of the best stories to come out of the platforms have to with 3D printing enthusiasts who have been able to launch their own brands and/or  lines of 3D printed goods.  Previously, we’ve seen the Mini F1 Drivers 3D printed toys from a Dutch artist on Shapeways and even a collection of toys that use vegetables to create one-of-a-kind custom (and edible) vehicle toy designs.

Aiming to satisfy his self-described “addiction to 3D printing”, German 3D modeler David Hagemann has leveraged his previous experience of designing 3D art and developing games to create a small line of toys on Thingiverse called Linklings.

They like to cling on each other and build huge towers.
They also like to link to build rings and roll around. 
They furthermore like to make chains and do some modern art.

The “simple and cute” toy designs, which were spawned out of Hagemanns interest in simple but effective ball joints, focus on embedding the ball joints into playful characters rather than having them be obstructive features seen in pre-existing action figures and other “posable” toys.  To prototype his toy concept, Hagemann jumped directly into 3D modeling software that he had used extensively in the past for his video game work: Autodesk’s 3Ds Max.  Paired with his UP! Mini 3D printer, Hagemann iterated on his design through multiple models.

“I started with a really small prototype, the clung aspect worked already pretty good from my estimate in 3Ds Max,” said Hagemann in an interview with 3Ders.

“The arms on the other hand easily snapped in that size. I then tried a much bigger size but in the end I went with something in the middle”.

The final prints were done in various colors of ABS filament.  While Hagemann admits that PLA also works, his UP! Mini 3D printer unfortunately had a difficult time extruding the material through its nozzle.  Fortunately, someone on Reddit tried a test print using the material and confirmed that the Linklings do in fact print perfectly using PLA.  

The Linklings were recently a featured item on Thingiverse and some users have even resorted to remixing the concept into other designs including the infamous Minions from the movie Despicable Me.

Of course, while Hagemann is satisfied with the exposure he has gotten thus far from the 3D printing community, he hopes to one day see his Linklings make it out of Thingiverse and into the hands of kids as actual toys.  While he admits that it’s hard to break in to the toy industry, he has started by setting up a store over on Shapeways for anybody interested in purchasing a final 3D print of the toy.  

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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