3D Printed Toys: A Profile on Toy Designer Wayne Losey and Modibot
Wayne Losey designs 3D printed toys. He’s a veteran toy creator, having worked for Hasbro and Kenner for 13 years designing some of the most popular toys in the market that generated over $1 billion in cumulative revenue, including GI Joe, Batman Forever, Superman: Man of Steel, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Vor-tech, and Micromachines. Today, Losey has his own product called Modibot, a 3D printable system of interlocking parts that lets you build your own fantastical creatures and characters.
Building a 3D Printed Business
As Losey was designing his new toy system, he embraced 3D printing as a way to get to market without the traditional inventory cost. Losey currently has 168 products for sale on 3D printing marketplace Shapeways. You can create spartans, patriots, dinosaurs, and more — toys that young boys love to put together and create. Like many competitors in the marketplace, Modibot comes in kits that kids put together themselves.
Losey was recently interviewed by Shapeways about his inspiration.
I like to create tools and toys that help people express their own ideas and creative spirit. The goal is to create things that people connect with in a very personal, hands-on way. ModiBot as a product is really what you make of it, I’m not trying to be the next big, prescriptive, entertainment property, I’m helping people to tell their own story. Mo is something noteworthy that people have sitting around on their desks. Other people take notice, pick it up and have a hard time putting it down. Its way for people to talk about what they love.
I’m inspired by tools, disruptive ideas and whats happening on the fringes of culture. As a professional, I had lost that hands-on relationship to my work. My work reflects a reconnecting with the work and an exploration of what is possible in desktop manufacturing.
Wired interviewed Losey in January about the benefits of 3D printing applied to toy making:
Having been burnt by seeing his creations in the bargain bin, Losey is in love with the print-on-demand nature of 3-D printing. “It’s an extremely sustainable business model. There’s no over-purchase of inventory and subsequent mad rush to sell that inventory and invest it back into the next batch,” he says. “Like many software businesses, it’s a constant beta mentality, where it’s tweaked until it works.”
Promoting and Telling the Story
Losey keeps an active Flickr and Tumblr account to follow the developments of his toy story. Below is a photo of his son with the caption: ”This was what I was looking forward to when we were designing Xevoz. My son enjoying them. Only took 8 years. #TotallyWorthIt”
Losey’s Modibot sells as a set and is easy to put together as shown in the video below.
How do prices compare? We looked at LEGO, Fisher-Price and Modibot for a dinosaur kit. Modibot is competitive, but not super cheap. The ModiRaptor Dino Kit is $37.05 on Shapeways compared with the Fisher Price Imaginext Dragon for $39.99 and the LEGO Dino Birthday kit for $147.99.
So is 3D Printing the Future of Toys?
In a word, yes.
Wayne Losey is a veteran toy designer who is bringing best-in-class toys to 3D printing, breaking down the design barrier that one might assume large toy manufacturers have over independent creators.
While prices are Losey’s products are equivalently expensive as mass market products today, 3D printed toys will undoubtedly come down in price as 3D printing becomes more affordable and mainstream. For just $3, you can download the Modibot design and print your own on your home 3D printer.
Modibot photos by KidMechano used under Creative Commons license.