By Kira | 3ders.org
Children are naturally creative and love to experiment—leave a child alone with a box of Lego, or blank paper and some markers, and you’ll be amazed at what they come up with. It’s as though we were all born with the maker-instinct, yet as we grow older and enter the ‘adult’ world, other priorities take over. But what if we could give children their own 3D printers to truly foster their creative intuitions and encourage them to make, break and create? To let their imaginations run wild before the pressures of school and work set in?
Unfortunately, 3D printing can be extremely dangerous for children, as the filaments often need to be melted at temperatures as high as 200+ degrees Celsius. To put that into context, exposing your skin to anything above 80 degrees Celsius is enough to cause severe burns within a matter of seconds. No parent would want their child coming even close to that kind of heat.
But there is hope for the next generation of mini-makers. Japan’s Bonsai Labs, a 3D printing company based out of Tokyo, has unveiled a new 3D printer and filament that only heat up to around 80 degrees Celsius (176 Farenheit). While that is still too hot to touch, with a bit of parental supervision it’s a much safer temperature than regular 3D printers reach.
Known as the BS Toy (talk about lost in translation), the family-friendly printer measures 200x200x200mm, weighs only 2kg, and will be able to print objects up to four inches tall and five inches wide—the perfect size for your little one’s little hands. The printer works with LT80 filament (“Low Temperature 80”), developed byPolymakr for Bonsai Labs, which in addition to melting at a low temperature, is biodegradable and composed entirely of raw materials approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), further ensuring the safety level for children. Although the filament is currently only available in a clear finish, the company plans to release multiple colors in the near future.
The BS Toy was unveiled at this year’s Spielwarnemasse, an international toy fair held in Nuremburg that took place from January 28-February 2nd. Although there is no exact launch date, Bonsai Labs plans to release their new product at the end of 2015—potentially just in time for it to pop up on children’s Christmas lists.
I can clearly remember playing ‘doctor’ with my toy medical set, or making questionable desserts in my Easy Bake Oven. Although I turned out to be neither a surgeon nor a pastry chef, those sessions of make-believe allowed me to experiment and at least imagine what life would be like when I grew up. Giving children the tools to explore their creativity can unleash a passion that lasts a lifetime, and can inspire the next generation of makers and DIYers. At the very least, owning a BS Toy could be a fun way to bring out your inner-kid, because as much as children like to play pretend at being grown-ups, are we the ones always wishing we could go back?
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