It was 1995 when Toy Story, one of the most iconic cartoons in the entire history of animated cinema, was released in theaters, with its fantastic story of a reality where toys have a life of their own, feelings and goals to achieve. You will surely remember (and if you don’t, you can re-watch the movie…I suppose you have seen it at least once) that the main antagonist of the story was a child with unkind ways, the Skinhead look and a black t-shirt with a prominent skull: Sid. This character, even with his ‘bad’ label, has always fascinated me for his maker side; in fact, his greatest occupation was that of destroying toys (often his sister’s) to create new ones by assembling parts without apparent logic, but with surprising results. So, I believe that behind Toy Rescue there is a grown Sid who understood his mistakes of youth and tried to direct his skills towards a noble purpose; Seriously, the idea of an online database of spare parts for broken toys is as simple as it is innovative and for this we have to tell you about it.
Born in France in December 2019 from a collaboration between Dagoma, a local manufacturer of 3D printers, and TBWA, a renowned communication agency, Toy Rescue is a platform where you can find replacements for all kinds of games. It may seem strange to you, but there are no spare parts for toys, whether they are action figures, vehicles or board games, if some part breaks or is lost there is no way to replace it.
Natural consequence of this bug in the life cycle of toys is, for example, the fact that in France alone more than 40 million toys are thrown away every year, both because they are broken or unusable, and because there is no way to repair them…just try to imagine the growth of this number if we extended it to the whole world!!! Toy Rescue saw a glimmer of opportunity in this problem: why not replace broken or missing pieces with 3D printed substitutes?
The idea is simple and the technology at hand, but to build an online database of spare parts for broken toys they had to roll up their sleeves, so the company immediately started analyzing the toy market in search of the most-selling products; then researched what were the most fragile components, difficult to repair or replace, and digitized them through 3D scans; Each piece was then 3D printed and tested on the reference broken toy to verify compatibility, and the print file uploaded to the platform.
The user can download the file and print it by himself or, if he does not find the piece he was looking for, he can request it in the section dedicated to custom requests. In fact, the platform uses a large online community, which involves makers by entrusting them with the creation of missing pieces, pushing them to freely propose new spare parts or to print files for those who do not have their own 3D printer.
Toy Rescue is a service that was missing, with solid foundations that bode well for the scalability of this young reality both from a technical point of view (3D modeling) and communication. It is this last aspect that deserves to be mentioned, the website is also simple and well done, nice to navigate and clear in the contents, the tone of voice is fun and engaging…you just have to go and browse it!