In the 1960s, Mattel’s ThingMaker let children create their own toys by pouring liquid plastic into metal molds. Now, the company has updated the idea for a new century, by making use of the fresh 3D printing technology.
They have now introduced a $299.99 3D printer, dubbed as the ThingMaker, which works with an iOS and Android app to let children and adults design new figurines and send them wirelessly from their phone or tablet straight to the printer.
According to Toyland, the app comes with dozens of basic blueprints (including rings, necklaces, scorpions, dinosaurs and skeletons), and users can customize toys by printing new parts that click into basic ball-and-socket joints.
The age group for the children is 13 years and above and the printer itself has safety features to keep away the users from any form of injury. The doors lock automatically when it’s in use and the printing head retracts when it’s not working.
Moreover, the app for the printer is already live on both iOS and Android app stores, while the printer itself is scheduled to be available on Amazon today to preorder, however, the shipping will start this fall.
“Obviously, we have quite a few iconic brands in our portfolio as well as access to partner brands. You can imagine that’s part of our longer term strategy,” Mattel senior director Aslan Appleman told USA Today. “We think it’s pretty magical to watch these things being printed, but after awhile you don’t want to sit there for hours. For bigger prints, click print before [you] go to bed and wake up to a brand new toy.“.
The gadget looks like an easy-to-use 3D printer with a fairly competitive price, but Mattel has the opportunity to connect it to a wider universe of toys, making it possible for users to print new Barbie or Hot Wheels accessories in 3D.