Oct 7, 2015 | By Alec

Anyone who has ever raised kids or spent a lot of time around young children will know that it can be surprisingly difficult to get them to do something they want, like getting dressed, eating their dinner or brushing their teeth. Fortunately, one option is making those activities more fun, and in that respect 3D printing can definitely offer a solution. Murray Clark, also known as Muzz64 on THingiverse, has recently shared designs for Tooth Brush Standz, a set of fun stick figure-like tooth brush holders that brighten up any bathroom and turn tooth brushes into toys.

Murray is a typical for many here with us in the 3D printing community. The New Zealander has a background in mechanics, and spends a lot of time learning, designing, making and 3D printing things. ‘What I post on Thingiverse is only a fraction of what I draw up but the rest is specific to someone or a replacement part so not really something worth sharing,’ he tells us. ‘I'm fussy. I want things that are near perfect like any mass produced product. 3D printing and my MakerBot's allows me to do that.’ He also frequently collaborates with his 13-year-old son, who has a MakerBot Mini 3D printer, to encourage him to work on creative, rather than mind-numbing, projects.

This cool Tooth Brush Standz is just one example of how Murray seeks to improve things around him. And as he explains to us, he was particularly impressed with how simple yet effective stick figures can be. ‘Stick figures are about the simplest way to represent a person and they can convey a message or emotion.... and because they are so simple people can relate to them easily and like them, they're fun. This is why I recently created my 'Stik Men' which are now available on Thingiverse. They're fun and can be used to convey a message,’ he says.

And while those are just for fun, Murray quickly realized that they can also be practical, yet individualized additions to any home. ‘The brilliant thing about these figures is that they can be individualized and that's one of the great things about 3D printing... you can make it 'yours' because it's unique to you,’ he says. The Tooth Brush Standz were quickly born, and are particularly popular on Thingiverse already; so much so that Murray is already speculating about their potential in gift and homeware stores.

That popularity is in part due to a very practical addition as well: the Standz feature a surroundin construction that protects the head and bristles of the brush. They are also adaptable for electric tooth brushes. ‘But most important of all is they are for the individual. Choose the stance you like,’ he tells us. Each figure is also just 21 cm tall, so can perfectly fit in any bathroom.

Design and 3D printing were also fairly straightforward. As Murray explains, he first got his hands on a couple of tooth brush parameters, which he used to modify stick figure designs. ‘I obviously had to consider things like strength, weight distribution and balance as these are important factors in creating something that works,’ he says. ‘You can achieve it through trial but fortunately in my case these days I have enough experience to get things fairly well right first time. There is no substitute for experience...’

These were subsequently 3D printed on his own desktop 3D printers. In his own words, he lives for 3D printing nowadays, so he owns both a Replicator 2 and a 5th Generation Replicator (and even access to a Replicator 2X). However, the results were fairly comparable on both 3D printers. ‘It's a simple print but I value the surface finish and minimal clean up I'm getting with both machines. They both print great...,’ he says, though adding that just about any machine will do. 3D printed in PLA (3 shells and 75% infill), the results were great, though ABS would also work well.

If you’re interested in brightening up your own tooth brush (or that of your kids), head over to Thingiverse here for the downloadable STL files. The project is quite a simple one, but it encompasses everything that 3D printing is about: simplicity, individuality and ingenuity.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications





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