Mattel’s Thingmaker 3D Printer That Let’s Kids Design and Make Their Own Toys
Move over elves! Soon, thanks to toy giant Mattel, kids will be able to both design and make their own toys at home! Due for release later this year, the Thingmaker is a 3D printer that will use a hard PLA plastic filament to create in real life, whatever your child can dream up in their imagination.
If you’re thinking that the name ‘Thingmaker’ sounds familiar, you’d be correct. Mattel have a history of helping kids to make their own toys. The original Thingmaker of the 60’s allowed children to make their own toy figures by pouring liquid plastic into moulds and heating them in the oven.
Thankfully, the new Thingmaker is much more sophisticated. Mattel has partnered with software company Autodesk to create a sophisticated #D modelling app that kids can use to design a wide range of toys, including figurines and jewellery.
Although the 3D printer is not set for release until later this year, budding toy designers can download the Thingmaker Design app now for FREE on iOS or Android. It comes loaded with blueprints to help new and younger designers get started, but also allows for much more sophisticated designs too for those who want to freestyle!
The Thingmaker Design app will wireless transmit toy designs from your tablet or smartphone to the Thingmaker 3D printer, which will make the toy in a series of pieces that can then be fitted together via simple ball and socket joints (allowing toys to be flexible and movable). Considering that Mattel also manufacture other well-known brands such as Barbie and Hot Wheels, there is also speculation that should the Thinkmaker do well, Mattel’s next step might be to release print-outs for those also, allowing kids to make their own versions at home!
According to Amazon the Thingmaker has been designed with families in mind and has a number of safety features:
- Heated Print Head Safety Feature:
When printing is completed, the heated print head retracts into a recess that hands can’t reach.
- Automated Door Lock:
The printer door automatically locks when printing begins, making it impossible to reach inside while the heated printer head is in motion.
- Integrated Filament System:
Internal storage and protected feeding system keeps filament out of harm’s way.
It is unclear when we can expect Mattel’s Thingmaker to make it’s debut in Australia, but buyers in the US are already able to pre-order theirs via Amazon for US$300. According to Amazon the Thingmaker will be released on October 15, 2016.