This week, Disney has announced they are exploring this 3D printing potential by showing off printed optics and 3D printable light bulbs
With these printers, Disney says they’ll be able to test out new toys more quickly than ever before.
So far, Disney has found a way to employ “light pipes” in these 3D prototypes, giving the toy maker a greater control on how these toys light up as well as how these optics are built.
Currently, the process of making these 3D-printable light bulbs requires a bit of a manual touch, as the print job must be stopped midstream so the lighting elements can be inserted. However, according to NOTCOT.com, this process could one day be easily automated, bringing the dream of the future to light.
Of course, light pipes and LEDs are worthless without a clear material with which to shine through. Currently, 3D printers use a sort of plastic filament to create whatever is being printed. Disney is using a high-quality, clear filament capable of clearly passing light all the way through. Combined with the light pipes, LED elements and this see-through material, Disney’s optics design creates some very interesting and futuristic effects.
To show off this new advance in 3D printing, Disney has released a video (see below) showing off the potential of this new process. With control over the light pipes and the way light is displayed or reflected, Disney is able to make toys which respond in very specific ways to a host of sensors. As examples, the company shows off a toy monster, chess pieces and even a few examples of sensors which can be used to control motion.