Free Gifts Inside!

I went to Staples stationary shop today and discovered a whole new level of cheap 3D printers available. Like nothing else I'd ever seen. Insane detail and many colours. Got me thinking about making things.

For 50 years I've been collecting these vintage cereal toys. The ones you used to get and fight over as kids. They would come flat in plastic. You'd pop them off their tree and click them togehter. What's the equivleent today? Everything's virtual and non tangable. But the thought occurred to me that how cool it would be as a marketer to make up your own designs of little toys, cars animals whatever and create 3D files that you "give away". If everyone has a 3D printer at home, just feed in the free file and print out as many of these as you like. It would bring a whole new level to the collectability thing. 

In fact why purchace any branded toy at all at places like Disneyland and Universal Studios when you can now print out these collectable goodies at home? Soon you'll just be scanning a file in the street, download link onto your phone and by the time you get back the trinket will be printed out ready for play. I can see it getting to the point where seroious collectors don't even bother printing their collection out. It's just the idea of having the entire 'Star Wars' set or what ever. It's the potential to print them out if you wanted to that appeals. 

I've got boxes of these things at home in the cupboard and they are worth $10 to $50 each in mint condition. I wonder if as 3D printing progressess and the outputs are as clean as these, if the value of my collection will go down? Or as it becomes easier to churn out copies by the hundreds, will the scarse originals be that much more significant. I'd still love it if companies and websites started giving away these free little things again. It was really thrilling to get one at the bottom of the pack at breakfast time. I wonder if there is an equivalent these days as we visit websites eager for our eyeball time?