When 3D printers went commercial, everyone wanted to bring one home, but there was hardly any manufacturer who gave this some real thought. 3D printers reaching every household sounded like a far-fetched idea. But Mattel set to prove us wrong by creating the ThingMaker which is going to be every child’s dream come true.
It is a machine that lets you design and create your own toys with some simple taps on a screen. The idea is fantastic and it makes the ThingMaker irresistible for kids but if you want to use it for creating other 3D stuff, we won’t judge you. Mattel has paired the machine with an idealistic software from Autodesk that makes it extremely easy for kids to print toys and jewelry.
With this new creation, Mattel has opened new possibilities for 3D printers which are now being considered for use at homes. 3D printing is a technology which is largely used in the automotive, aerospace and medial sectors. 3D printers cost a lot and are usually considered technologically complex – one of the reasons why it hasn’t made it to the homes so far. It also does not garner much interest from people who do not consider themselves creative.
The ThingMaker tries to bridge most of these gaps. Unveiled at the New York Toy Fair, it will not be hitting the shelves until this fall. Priced at $300, the 3D printer may not be the least expensive of consumer-focused 3D printers but it does have the appeal of being affordable.
The 3D printer is a fused filament fabrication machine which extrudes layers of melted thermo-polymer which forms the object. The thermopolymer filament is available in multiple colors on reels which are attached to the ThingMaker. The users simple upload the design files using Mattel’s proprietary design app that can be used on an Android or iOS device and then print the different parts of the toy which can be assembled.
Anyone using the ThingMaker will have access to numerous toy templates through the Design App. Additionally, they can create custom toys by using the different parts which also available in loadable files. The ThingMaker prints the different parts in batches which can be assembled with the help of the ball and socket joints.
The ThingMaker can bring children closer to technology and allow them to explore their creativity. It pushes the boundaries of imaginative play and can become an important device for innovative minds.