Dec 14, 2018 | By Cameron

A 3D printable toy company called 3DKToys has been awarded a patent for a Pin and Void method of connecting 3D printed objects that’s used in their line of 3D-printable toys. It all started when Brian Quincy Robinson, CEO and co-founder of 3DKToys, wanted to create a Barbie-sized doll that could be 3D printed on a small desktop 3D printer with a build volume no larger than 4 x 4 x 5.5 inches.

To create the Quin doll, he needed a simple and reliable way of connecting smaller parts to each other to form a larger toy. By creating bone-shaped pins, parts can be pressure-snapped together with sturdy, articulating joints. The Quin doll is a compelling concept as it can be customized and upgraded with UpKits that include bendable elbows and knees, a space suit, and different facial expressions. The line also features NiQ, a poseable action figure, and several monsters that they battle. All of their models are 3D printable, articulating, and require no support material, sanding, or gluing.

The free 3D marketplaces like Thingiverse are wonderful, but the quality of models is inconsistent, with poor tolerances and lots of overhangs that necessitate using support material that hurts surface finishes. All of those issues motivated the 3DKToys team to develop their 3D-printable toys that avoid all of those problems. But putting that amount of time and resources into a full line of high-quality toys can’t be done for free, which is where the patent comes in. 3DKToys sells their products as digital models that customers can print on their own 3D printers, and digital models are notoriously difficult to protect on the internet.

Some individuals were buying the files and then illegally uploading them to file-sharing sites like GitHub and Dropbox. This patent now allows 3DKToys to sue those that breach the end user agreement. Technically, the patent could be used to limit the selling of any 3D printed objects that use a pin and void connection method, even original content. That’s a little strange because the method is incredibly simple; I myself have designed parts that snap together this way and it’s the basic mechanism of any push-together buckle. But it’s more likely that 3DKToys intends to use the patent to protect their other intellectual properties, i.e. the dolls themselves.

Regardless, they’re celebrating receiving the patent by offering the 3D model of their RUKIBOT toy for free, so download a copy before the promotion ends. Their toys aren’t just for children, either. Because they’re poseable and customizable, they’re great for movie makers, especially those that create stop-motion films. These toys are a fantastic way to get kids interested in 3D printing and design, and the promotion comes just in time for the holidays.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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MrBaz wrote at 12/24/2018 3:39:12 PM:

I agree with others. This patent is stupid and meets no commercial gain over spent resources of research and development. It just hurts further development by others. Shame on third person for patenting so stupid.

David C. wrote at 12/18/2018 9:52:10 PM:

this is why patent are stupid. and the balls on these people to even attempt this in the first place, and the failure of the patent process in allowing this... complete and utter bullshit.

Angus Telling wrote at 12/15/2018 1:23:00 PM:

Best wishes to 3DKToys, but this patent is preceded by literally decades or arguably centuries of prior art. If challenged in court, it will likely crumble easily. As far as preventing file sharing of these printable objects, I'm sure this questionable patent will prove every bit as effective as the safeguards which prevent widespread sharing of movies and music.

Adrian. wrote at 12/15/2018 10:02:29 AM:

So what exactly makes this different than one of the multitude of identical connectors that have been used for decades, such as a Lego Technic pin connector?

madamhash wrote at 12/15/2018 5:12:40 AM:

so patented a thing similar to pins that have been around for decades, patent office strikes again

Unimportant reader wrote at 12/15/2018 4:46:01 AM:

Thanks for providing a link to the company's site, or the free download.

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