Products and Services Used

Summary


Australian company, Tinta Crayons have thought outside the crayon box for their crayon moulds. They have created different themed crayon packs and pushed the boundaries of conventional crayon shapes. To make their new venture possible, the team at Tinta Crayons employed the use of:

  • 3D design
  • 3D printing

Tinta Crayons envisaged creating crayons shaped like astronauts, aliens and rocket ships, dinosaurs, fairies and pirates and found 3D printing to be the perfect production method in creating these shapes. The Tinta Crayons team have designed these fun and creatively shaped crayons that “inspire little fingers to have big imaginations”.

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The two creative entrepreneurs behind this endeavour, Maria Fletcher and Maria Porto, found that there was a gap in the market for safe and natural crayons for children. Fletcher said that at Tinta Crayons they are “passionate about creating safe, natural crayons that encourage kids to play”. They wanted to create crayons that were made from natural ingredients that were not harmful to little humans or the environment. They have created their range with all natural products, using Australian beeswax as a key ingredient, and excluding any nasties like soy or palm waxes that have a negative ecological impact.

Tinta had previously trialled other methods, but found that they weren’t able to harness the level of detail that was integral to the overall quality and success of their designs. Alongside the issue of detail, Fletcher and Porto wanted to have more creative freedom with their designs and found that there were limitations to this when using other production methods. “When we first started making crayons, we used chocolate and soap moulds. However, we really wanted to be able to create our own moulds and standardise the size of our crayons, so we started to design our own shapes. We had a wish-list of things we wanted to achieve, and we discovered that 3D printing would be the best way to do that” said Fletcher.

The level of detail that we needed to achieve was paramount and we found that other 3D printers could not deliver the correct level of detail on the small size of our crayons. The quality and finishing of the printing was very important for us. The crayons are very tactile and we didn’t want to have visual markings left by the printing process. The team at Thinglab worked very collaboratively with us to find the best solutions and achieve the outcomes we wanted.
– Maria Fletcher, Tinta Crayons

Process

The design process for Tinta Crayons 3D printing consisted of 6 steps:

  1. Design Concept
    Tinta crayons wanted to create fun shaped crayons.
  2. Digital Design File
    Tinta’s in-house designer created CAD files for each design.
  3. Selection of materials
    The Formlabs Form 2 with Black resin was selected for the highest detailed prints.
  4. Prototype
    An initial prototype was created and assessed for design faults and successes.
  5. Amendments
    Amendments were made to the design to fix any faults discovered during the prototyping phase.
  6. Production
    The 3D prints were used to make moulds that liquid crayon was able to be poured into.

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The team at Tinta Crayons wanted to create highly detailed pieces for their collections and found 3D printing technology effective in helping them achieve this goal. Some of the benefits they found with Thinglab’s 3D printing process were:

  • The ability to print intricate designs
  • The freedom to amend design errors before the final printing process
  • The use of precision printing technology – with the Formlabs Form 2 3D printer

Obstacles

Problems

  • Identifying a 3D printer that could deliver the level of detail on the small size crayons.
  • The original design files were not compliant with the Formlabs Design Guide specifications and caused failed prints.
  • Intricate details, such as the Tinta Crayons logo, were not showing on the final prints.

Solutions

  • Thinglab printed the parts on the Formlabs Form 2 at 25 microns, without support, to create smooth high-detailed prints that didn’t show signs of the printing process.
  • The Tinta Crayons design team altered their designs to meet the Formlabs Design Guide specifications.
  • Thinglab’s 3D printing services team determined the best orientation for printing Tinta’s models.

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During the design and printing phase there were some obstacles that needed to be overcome for the success of the project. Thinglab and Tinta Crayons were able to liaise freely and work through issues as they arose.

Outcome

Some benefits Tinta Crayons found when working with Thinglab for 3D printing services were:

  • Reduced production time
  • Reduced cost
  • Abilty to make amendments to the design

Time and money were very important considerations during the production process. Fletcher found that since implementing the use of the new moulds, “production times have dropped substantially” which allowed them to “make more crayons at once and gain efficiencies within the manufacturing process”.

Thinglab were also able to rapidly identify and address some design issues that revealed themselves through the printing process, and Tinta were able to make the necessary changes to their designs before final production, saving them money in the long run.

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Tinta Crayons had previously trialled other printing methods and 3D printing services but found that they “could not deliver the correct level of detail on the small size of our crayons” said Fletcher. The Tinta team commended Thinglab on their collaborative effort. Fletcher said that prior to Thinglab’s 3D printed moulds from the Formlabs Form 2 “we thought we’d have to compromise on what we wanted to achieve” but that once Thinglab got involved “we were able to produce the most beautiful pieces!”.

The team at Tinta Crayons are excited by the release their new crayon range, and have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback already. When you see the high quality and detailed crayons they are producing, it’s not difficult to see how success has enveloped this emerging company. Congratulations to the Tinta Crayons team!

With the help of Thinglab 3D Printing Services team, and the Formlabs Form 2, Tinta Crayons were able to create their own custom crayons with the detail they were striving for without compromise. With reduced production time and costs as well as the flexibility to change the design on the run Tinta were extremely happy with the results.

The rocket mould printed on the Form 2 in black resin
The red crayon vs the black resin mould
Tinta’s Universe crayon set

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