A Davenport man is aiming to provide a “good Christmas,” by offering one 3D printed toy at a time.

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3D printing has become a phenomenon in recent years, with its capabilities expanding beyond our wildest imaginations. And in Southern Florida, a groundbreaking achievement has just been accomplished – the construction of the largest 3D printed building ever. This achievement showcases the incredible potential and growth of the 3D printing industry.

But amidst the technological marvels and world records, there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Meet Dylan Bowen, a regular dad and husband who has become a hero to thousands of children eagerly anticipating Christmas. Three years ago, Dylan embarked on a mission to 3D print face shields for individuals in need during the pandemic. However, his journey didn’t stop there. He evolved his efforts to create 3D printed toys to be donated to Toys for Tots. And now, his donations have reached an impressive magnitude.

Dylan stands proudly beside his trusty 3D printer, showcasing a variety of 3D printed toys he has created. It all began when he discovered IC3D Printing, a manufacturing business based in Ohio. In 2018, the company initiated a program where volunteers, known as “printing elves,” could create toys for children facing various hardships. Dylan immediately signed up and joined the nationwide community of 300 individuals dedicated to this cause.

The program operates on a volunteer-driven and community-based model. IC3D Printing selects approved toy designs based on factors such as integrity, design, and printability. The intention is to ensure that anyone with access to a 3D printer can contribute without the need for special adjustments. The toy designs range from adorable penguins and chameleons to playful lizards, dogs, and even Jeeps.

The printing process is remarkably efficient, with each toy taking an average of 30 minutes to print, depending on its size. Dylan prints in batches, allowing him to create multiple toys simultaneously. He also takes great care to make each toy unique by utilizing different colors and patterns. Some of his printers even possess the ability to print in multiple colors, adding an extra element of excitement to the toys.

During the day, Dylan works on Arsenal Island, where he has set up a printer in his office. His employer recognized his dedication and recently made a generous $500 donation towards supplies. Furthermore, Modern Woodman donated a new printer and additional materials, enabling Dylan to dramatically increase his toy donations. Since he began this noble endeavor, Dylan has expanded his contributions by almost 600%. In 2021, he made 350 toys, doubling that number to 700 in 2022. And this year, his goal is an impressive 2,400 toys. He currently has around 1,500 toys ready to be delivered.

Dylan’s motivation stems from his desire to ensure that every child experiences the joy of Christmas. Reflecting on his own fortunate childhood, he wants to provide the same happiness to children who may not have the same privileges. While the toys may not be extravagant or large-scale, they hold a special significance for the recipient children.

Creating such a vast number of toys is undoubtedly a year-long process. However, Dylan ramps up his efforts to secure sponsors starting in July, as supplies typically begin to run low. At the beginning of his journey, he owned 12 printers, but he has since reduced that number to three. The cost of printers can vary significantly, ranging from around $150 to a few thousand dollars. Additionally, Dylan purchases filament, the thin thermoplastic printing material, using the generous donations he receives. As a volunteer for IC3D Printing, he uses the funds for filament purchases and distributes it to other volunteer toy makers across the country.

Dylan has become the Iowa hub for IC3D Printing, and his impact has steadily grown over the past three years. When he initially started, he was the sole volunteer 3D printer in the state. Today, he has inspired more individuals to join this mission, expanding the program’s reach and impact.

In conclusion, while technological advancements like the world’s largest 3D printed building awe us, it’s the ordinary people like Dylan Bowen who make a profound difference in the lives of others. His dedication and passion have led him to create thousands of 3D printed toys, bringing joy to children who may not have had such an opportunity otherwise. Dylan is a shining example of how one person’s commitment can inspire change, and his impact will undoubtedly continue to grow year after year.

3D printing has revolutionized various industries, including the toy industry. One individual who has embraced this technology and its potential to bring joy to children is Bill Bowen, founder of IC3D, a 3D printing company based in Iowa City. Every year, Bowen and his team work tirelessly to create and distribute printed toys to children in need through the Toys for Tots program.

Bill Bowen’s journey began several years ago when he was the only person in Iowa City involved in 3D printing toys. In those early years, he had to ship his creations to Wisconsin because there was no one in Iowa who could assist him. However, as the popularity of 3D printing grew, so did Bowen’s network. By the second year, he became a hub for other individuals interested in helping him with his mission. And now, several people across the state of Iowa contribute to this noble cause.

One important aspect of the toy-making process is the availability of filament, the material used in 3D printing. Bill Bowen ensures that all contributors have access to filament whenever they need it. He even goes beyond state lines by trading with a man in Las Vegas, proving that the reach of this project extends far and wide.

As November approaches, shipments of toys from all corners of Iowa arrive at Bowen’s doorstep. However, the journey does not stop there. Bowen meticulously inspects each toy for quality control purposes before shipping them off to Toys for Tots in order to meet the December 1st deadline. This year, the IC3D team has set a goal of printing 85,000 toys, and Bowen’s contribution is just one small part of this incredible effort.

Although Bowen acknowledges that his individual donation may be a modest one, he takes immense pride in knowing that he is making a difference in the lives of children. He strongly believes that every child deserves a memorable Christmas, just like the ones he had growing up. This sense of accomplishment and the joy of helping others are what motivate him to keep pushing forward.

For those who want to support Bowen personally, he has set up a GoFundMe page. Additionally, IC3D sells its products, including the printed toys, on its website and through Bowen’s Etsy shop, DubandJub3DPrints. By purchasing these items, individuals can not only contribute to this meaningful cause but also experience the wonder of 3D printing firsthand.

3D printing has already shown its potential in various sectors. However, Bowen’s dedication to using this technology to bring happiness to children is truly commendable. The impact of his work goes beyond the mere production of toys; it is about creating memorable experiences and spreading positivity. In a world where technology sometimes separates individuals, Bill Bowen and IC3D are using it to bring people together and make a difference.

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