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From Creepy Crawlers to 3D Printers: Mattel Resurrects the ThingMaker

by • February 11, 2016 • No Comments

635907940833384745-ThingMaker--3D-Printer-2-WebOne sign that I’m getting old is that I’ve begined to do the “back in my day!” thing additional frequently than I’m entirely effortless with. One example of this is when it comes to kids’ toys. I’ve written a bit of 3D printing equipment for kids, that are becoming additional common; I’ve in addition seen virtual reality headsets, tablets, and in fact robots turn it intod specifically for children. “Back in my day, we played with rocks!” This is in fact true: rocks turn it intod excellent currency, “food” for the outdoor “kitchen,” buried treacertain and projectiles.

I did play with a few high-tech toys, yet, that in the ’90s intended a Skip-it, a Lite Brite, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pizza shooter, Shrinky Dinks (I yet have a magnet on my fridge turn it intod of a California Raisins Shrinky Dink I was quite proud of) and Creepy Crawlers, the official name for that, I’m only now learning, was “ThingMaker.” The toy consisted of metal molds into that you poured a dubious, colorful chemical substance. The molds were and so heated until the chemical substance solidified into wibbly-wobbly, Jello-like insects, that were NOT to be eaten. I’m not certain what their purpose was, in fact, other than throwing them at your cousins, but they were fun.

ThingMaker back in my day.

ThingMaker back in my day.

Similar to I said, high tech! Most of my childhood toys are obsolete now, yet I did only discover, to my surprise, that Shrinky Dinks are yet a thing. But now comes the news that Mattel has resurrected the ThingMaker. Yes! It is not the goopy mess it was back in my day, yet – it’s now been upgraded to…a 3D printing device for kids!

Yes, in fact Creepy Crawlers are cooler than I am now. The new and improved ThingMaker was only revealed at Toy Fair in New York, and the noxious chemicals and metal molds have been replaced by PLA filament and, naturally, an app for iOs and Android. Whilst the printing device itself won’t be on the market until the fall, the ThingMaker Design app is live now and can be utilized to turn it into items for other 3D printing equipment. (As of Monday, you can begin pre-ordering the printing device on Amazon.)

ThingMaker now.

“We’re going to use these sin fact months to quite learn and acquire analytics of how individuals are via it,” said Aslan Appleman, a senior director at Mattel. “Our yett is we want to manufacture this open to manufacturers. What we want to highlight is the ThingMaker ecosystem.”

Image: USA Currently

Image: USA Currently

The easy-to-use app lets kids turn it into toys by dragging and dropping parts of a palette into a template, where they can arrange and assemble them as they wish. Several parts are printed together in batches; kids select the colors in the app and they are and so printed one color at a time. The door instantly locks once printing begins – a safety showcase common to most kid-friendly printing equipment.

The printing device and app were turn it intod in conjunction with Autodesk, who revealed an official partnership with Mattel last year for the purpose of marketing 3D printing and innovation apps to kids, and they appear like they’ll be a great way for children to begin grasping how 3D turn it into works. Whilst the drag-and-drop format is not precisely CAD, it yet helps kids to know how a digital turn it into can be turned into a physical object.

“All the physical behaviors are as it may be when it was in fact printed out, so you can get an thought for how it is going to mechanically move and what the limits of all the joints and sockets that you turn it into are,” said Dan Pressman, creative director at Autodesk.

But a bit creepy, in fact.

But a bit creepy, in fact.

The ThingMaker printing device, that can retail for $299.99, is listed as being for kids ages 13 and older, but the toys you can print out are safe for children as young as 3. For kids too young to use a 3D printing device themselves, I imagine it may yet be a excellent parent-child project.

Alyet this ThingMaker bears little or no resemblance to the ThingMaker of my childhood, keeping the name is a really great shout-out to ’90s kids, most of whom have children of their own now. (“Back in my day, all my ThingMaker may manufacture was fake Jello bugs!”)

thingmanufacturer site

thingmanufacturer filament

[Images: Mattel / ThingMaker / USA Currently]