Local Entrepreneurs Hope to Scare Up Success With Monster Mascots
Fri, 01/30/2015 - 11:11 RCN Newsdesk
3D printing and the University of Kentucky Wildcat mascot -- brought together by a new Cincinnati-based company.
Monster Mascots, founded by Natalie Mathis and Quincy Robinson, launched a Kickstarter campaign this week for the company which hopes to combine desktop 3D printing with traditional manufacturing to produce affordable, collectible figures in the local area.
The first batch of mascots will be the UK Wildcat.
Last year Mathis and Robinson entered the 2014 class of the Cincinnati-based manufacturing accelerator, First Batch. “Originally, we hoped to produce our mascots in the U.S.A.,” Mathis said. “We priced a facility in New York, but found the cost to be prohibitive. It was First Batch that connected our company with manufacturers who worked with us until we discovered how to make our figures entirely in the Cincinnati area. It’s great for local business.”
Robinson has over ten years of experience inventing and sculpting for the toy industry. Using software, Robinson created a negative of each section of the UK Wildcat figure. He then 3D-printed each negative section in square blocks on desktop 3D printers. The blocks were taken to a local aluminum sand casting facility, where they were turned into a metal mold.
“3D printing these blocks ourselves reduced the cost of the mold by thousands of dollars and enabled us to affordably produce small batches of the Wildcat,” said Mathis.
From here, a local rotational molding facility attaches the mold to a large metal disk, puts a plastic powder inside, and rotates the mold. After baking at a high temperature, the UK Wildcat is pulled out, cleaned, and assembled by hand, adding to each figure’s uniqueness.
After the Kickstarter ends on February 25, Monster Mascots will continue to acquire licenses from other universities to produce more figures in the series. “We started with UK because Natalie and I are both from Kentucky,” Robinson said. “We hope people love these guys and that eventually we can make a Cincinnati Bearcat Monster Mascot!”
The project launched under the following profile: www.kickstarter.com/profile/3dkitbash.