Feb 11, 2016 | By Tess

3D printing has been used in many ways to help children: to teach them about engineering and technology, to promote education in general to more disenfranchised communities, and now it is even being used to generate income for a children’s charity. A crowdfunding campaign has recently been launched for Monster Crayons, a product made with the help of 3D printing that its founders hope will become a solid source of income for Australia-wide children’s charity Act For Kids.

The idea, conceived of by two Australian advertising professionals, Ben Lees and Christian McKechnie, is to get enough funding from the public to get their adorable monster-shaped crayons manufactured, marketed, and retailed so that the profits from the sales can benefit Act For Kids, a charity dedicated to helping abused or neglected children through free art therapy processes.

As stated on Monster Crayons’ crowdfunding page, “We are developing a product that will give children’s charity, Act for Kids, a source of income that doesn’t rely on donations. We will use this product to establish a self-sustaining business, with all profits going to help abused children.”

The monster-shaped crayons themselves were inspired by the many drawings of monsters made by children who are cared for at Act For Kids, a sad but insightful reality that has spurred on the slogan “Taking away a child’s monster”. In a previous effort, Lees and McKechnie also helped to organize a pop-up art gallery for the charity where they sold children’s drawings and paintings of monsters to generate both income for the charity as well as awareness for their cause.

McKechnie explains of the monster drawings, “It struck a chord with us so we thought, ‘how can we use that to turn it around for the kids to make something good happen’.”

To create the crayons, McKechnie and Lees initially tried a variety of methods at home, though most were unsuccessful—Lees admits to having ruined several saucepans in the prototyping phase. Finally, they enlisted the help of their friend Ian Anderson, a 3D designer based in Brisbane, Australia, who was able to create workable 3D models of the initial monster design which was then 3D printed to be used as a crayon mold.

Currently, the team behind Monster Crayons are working on finishing more 3D printed monster molds to make a total of 4 types of monster crayons, each of which was inspired by a different children’s drawing. The money raised by the crowdfunding campaign—they have a stated goal of A$20,000—will go towards manufacturing the first batch of crayons, as well as packaging and distributing them to major retailers.

If their goal is reached, Lees and McKechnie expect to have their first run of Monster Crayons ready and shipped within four months. All the profits from the crayon sales will go to Act For Kids to help them help more children. “Once we have sold the initial manufacturing run, we will take a percentage of our income to fund a second run, and all profits will go to help kids in need. We hope to continue like this indefinitely,” they explain.

For a pledge of A$30 or more, you can receive your own 4-pack of Monster Crayons, though shipping is only included within Australia. The campaign runs until March 14, 2016. McKechnie commented on the whole charitable project saying, “Why we love it is because it’s like art therapy, as every drawing takes away the child’s monster.”

It is always encouraging to see 3D printing technologies and professional talents being put towards such good causes, and though Monster Crayons is a local Australian effort, we hope the plan is a model for other innovative minds and makers to put additive manufacturing technologies towards such a constructive cause.

For more, check out the video below:

 

 

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