Create Toys at Home with Mattel's New 3D Printer

Trevor English

Being able to go to sleep and wake up to a brand new toy of your choosing is finally becoming a reality. ThingMaker, unveiled by Mattel at New York's Toy Fair, is a new US$300 3D printer that will enable kids to print out whatever their heart desires. Paired with a new touch screen mobile app, the affordable device could effectively eliminate the need to make a trip to the store for more toys. The most innovative part of the product isn't actually the printer, in fact, similar 3D printers have already been around for a little while. What is most revolutionary is the interface that enables kids to create objects previously only constructed using complex softwares.

family toy maker 3d printer[Image Source: Mattel]

The app, as seen below, gives a 3D representation of what the child's new toy will look like. The printer even allows for different colors and the software will come loaded with some predesigned shapes that can be built upon. Once you get the hang of things though, the user can design completely from scratch, a degree of freedom never before seen in children's toys.

The software wasn't just designed by toymakers, rather it was built by Autodesk who produces some of the most useful drafting software on the market today for technical professionals. In the end, there is some assembly required, as the printer cannot print objects of large size. This means that each toy will have to be designed with interlocking joints that combine the pieces into an opposable product.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 most expensive “toys” money can buy

app 3d printer toy maker[Image Source: Mattel]

There is a huge opportunity here for Mattel to license out other product designs allowing for kids to produce some more well known toys currently on the market. The toy company could have also made the software and printer proprietary, but they have allowed the app to print to other brand printers in case you already have one in your home.

The product is marketed towards kids 13 years old and up, but that's not to say younger generations won't enjoy the product as well. If you are interested in buying the ThingMaker for your kids, or maybe even yourself, it is available for pre-order on amazon here. You'll have to wait just a little while longer though, as the new printer isn't set to ship until October of this year.

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mattel thingmaker toys[Image Source: Mattel]

ThingMaker is probably the first in line of what is likely to be a long list of 21st century toys. With 3D printing technology continuing to grow cheaper, there will soon come a day where printing whatever you can dream up is possible at the click of a button. Inspiring your kids to become engineers, builders, and designers could be made easy if they were able to play with this new printer from Mattel. While the US$300 price point may still be too high for some, the tech world is buzzing about this new child-friendly tech.

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