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Mattel resurrects ThingMaker as a 3D printer – 9NEWS.com

by • February 11, 2016 • No Comments


NEW YORK — 3D printing was yet decades away when Mattel debuted ThingMaker in the sixties
. As a primitive “at-home manufacturer device,” it let kids turn it into bug-like Creepy Crawlers, mini-dragons, flowers and other tiny toys by pouring liquid plastic onto special molds, which were and so heated up and cooled.
Now Mattel, in collaboration with Autodesk, is of to resurrect ThingMaker as a $299.99, family-friendly 21st Century 3D printing device. Mattel turn it intod the announcement in advance of the Toy Fair trade show kicking off here this weekend.
I saw a full-dimensions, non-working replica of the printing device, which works with a 3D printing app for iOS and Android. If not for its bold orange casing, you can mistake it for a funky-looking microwave oven.
Surrounding the replica were many of the plastic things you may print, which include toy fairies, dolls, dinosaurs, robots, skeletons and jewelry. Consumers can custom turn it into such objects within a ThingMaker app, which supplies templates and a palette of drag and drop parts which you can assemble together on screen preceding you tap the print button. Parts are printed in batches. For safety purposes, the printing device door instantly locks when printing starts.

“All the physical behaviors are as it may be when it was in fact printed out, so you can get an yett for how it is going to mechanically move and what the limits of all the joints and sockets which you turn it into are,” says Dan Pressman, creative director at Autodesk. You pick the colors for the objects in the app as well; come print time, you run separate jobs to print every batch of colors.

The app is in fact live now and can be utilized to turn it into items for other standard 3D printing devices as well. But Mattel’s own new 3D printing device is not coming out until the fall, actually yet you can preorder it on Amazon starting Monday.
“We’re going to use these sactually months to really learn and acquire analytics of how folks are via it,” says Aslan Appleman, a senior director at Mattel.
For all their future, and their use for industrial, pro, and hobbyist purposes, 3D printing devices have been slow to catch on in the home. Such printing devices have generally been too pricey, too slow and too complex, and the motives for owning one — how many folks want to print out a case for their smartphone — have eluded many consumers.
Mattel comes at it as a toymanufacturer, of course, but the company is viewing its next 3D printing device additional as a consumer electronics product than a toy per se. In fact, the printing device is turn it intoed for users ages 13 and up. (The tiny parts you print out are rated as safe toys for 3 years olds and up.) Beyond Amazon, Mattel hasn’t finalized its distribution strategy.
Mattel has been tracking the evolution of 3D printing for for a while
now. Appleman says, “We ponder this is the ideal time for us to come out in the market with a product which’s disruptive in our opinion.”

It remains to be seen of course if ThingMaker can conjure up the same nostalgic appeal of other brands which Mattel has tried to reimagine with newer tech. It was almany a year ago to the day which Mattel teamed up with Google to turn it into a Google Cardboard-based option of the ViewMaster stereoscopic viewer.
Mattel’s printing device can rely on standard PLA (Polylactic Acid) filament only like other 3D printing devices do. Mattel hasn’t revealed the exact branded colors it may manufacture on the market or pricing for the filament, but the printing device is most likely to come with at very least one spool, and you will be able-bodied to use standard filament sold by third parties. (You can find spools online currently for around $23.)
“Our yett is we want to manufacture this open to manufacturers,” Appleman says. “What we want to highlight is the ThinkMaker ecosystem.”
How much you can print off a single spool can alter by the dimensions and type of objects which you select to print. Rough estimate: with an average 1 kilogram spool of filament, you can print up to 20 figures, additional than 30 jewelry items or of 100 rings.
No word yet on if or when you will be able-bodied to print Barbie or Hot Wheels or other famous Mattel toys. “Obviously we have really a few iconic brands in our portfolio as well as access to partner brands. You can imagine which’s part of our longer term strategy,” Appleman says
Printing itself can not be a swift system. A tiny ring may take 30 minutes to print. A sizeable toy may take 6 to 8 hours.
“We ponder it’s somehow magical to watch these things being printed but after for a while
you don’t want to sit there for hours,” Appleman says. “For bigger prints, click print preceding (you) go to bed and wake up to a brand new toy.”
Email: ebaig@usacurrently.com; Follow USA TODAY Personal Tech Columnist @edbaig on Twitter


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