May 11, 2016 | By Alec

A few weeks ago, Polymaker launched a Kickstarter campaign for an exciting new 3D printing accessory: the Polysher, an alcohol-based desktop cleaning unit that quickly removes layers from any 3D printed object with an aerosol spray. Unsurprisingly, the machine is a huge hit on Kickstarter, having gathered more than $320,000 in pledges already. To further illustrate the Polysher’s fascinating cleaning powers, Polymaker has just shared an amazing case study featuring Pacific Islander Nicolas Tokotuu, who has used the Polysher and PolySmooth filament to produce a range of perfectly smooth toys for young children.

It’s a case study that highlights another fantastic power of 3D printing: efficiently using materials. Nicolas Tokotuu is the designer and creator of Nikoss' Toys, and lives on the island of Wallis and Futuna. Located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Fiji and Samoa and home to just 10,000 people, it’s a place with very little resources. Vital supplies are imported regularly, but the immense logistic challenges involved in island life mean there’s very little opportunity to import new toys for kids. “You will not find any toys on my Island or you may do but at an insane price,” Nicolas explains.

That’s where 3D printing comes in. For Nikoss’ Toys, Nicolas designs and 3D prints a wide range of fun figurines for kids to play with. Already included in his current range of designs are Nikoss’ Animals, Nikoss’ Insects, Nikoss’ Dinosaurs, Nikoss’ Creatures and Nikoss’ Fish. He purposefully chose figurines as they are not just easy to 3D print, but because they are also perfect for creating stories with and encouraging imagination. Nicolas also does his best to 3D print new and fun toys to support a child’s own creative ideas.

The only problem is that 3D printed surfaces are not exactly appealing to children. Rough and faded surfaces are the opposite of what a kid expects nowadays. Nicolas therefore does his best to make toys as appealing as possible. Until recently, he did all 3D printing in ABS and PLA and did his best to remove any layered structures. This is easily done with ABS, but the toxic acetone can be dangerous to work with. In contrast, PLA is far easier to 3D print, but more difficult to clean perfectly. In both cases, you don’t want any of the solvents within reach of children.

Nicolas therefore leaped at the opportunity to work with a Polysher by Polymaker. As you might recall, the Polysher’s magic is activated when an object 3D printed in Polysmooth filament is placed inside. Polysmooth filament (also by Polymaker) is comparable to PLA, but very responsive to alcohol. In a matter of minutes, the alcohol mist produced by the Polysher eats into the layers to leave a very smooth surface. This is followed by a drying process that dissipates any alcohol residue. Importantly, there’s absolutely no heat involved, while the enclosed chamber makes it very safe to use.

For Nicolas, it was a match made in heaven. “I love PolySmooth, on one hand it is just as easy to print as PLA and children can safely watch the printing process without exposing them to fumes. No more hassle with ABS,” he says. “On the other hand, I love this material because the support is as easy to remove as ABS.”

More importantly, the surface results were completely smooth and exactly what kids expected. What’s more, the safe enclosures mean that Nicolas can expose children to the magic of manufacturing at an early age. “The Polysher allows a polishing process that is completely effortless and semi-automated, while most importantly, its much safer for children. Which means that children can actually participate in the creation of their toys from downloading to the end product,” he said. Right now, he cannot envision a future for Nikoss Toys that doesn’t include Polymaker’s Polysher. If you like Nicolas’s designs, you can download them all for free on Thingiverse here.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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