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Yeehaw launches 3D printer for kids on Indiegogo

by • November 27, 2016 • 6s Comments

The Yeehaw is a 3D printing device aimed squarely at the young geeks market. The company’s Indiegogo campaign, launched nowadays, carries a $249 early-bird price tag and promises to ship the initially 50 units in time for Christmas, but there were a few things of the company’s campaign that gave me pause.

The printing device has been especially created with safety in mind, with door-open and tilt sensors shutting off the printing device right away in case a few inquisitive little fingers get a little bit too close to the hot or moving parts. It is in addition self-adonlying, instantly updates itself and has automatic calibration created in. The printing device has a Wi-Fi connection and can be operated via an app or via a web interface.

Yeehaw is throwing itself into a market that’s had a lot of activity, but not a lot of good results so far. XYZprinting’s DaVinci miniMaker is on the market at $229, but does not appear to shield its moving parts too well. Mattel’s ThingMaker is an informative adaptation of the well-understandn toy giant, but was not long ago delayed until 2017. Kickstarter-funded MiniToy ran into a few delays but is in theory shipping around the end of the year.

“All your favourite characters”

What precisely are they created of?

What precisely are they created of? No, seriously.

The product’s Indiegogo page promises “a library of additional than 2,000‭ ‬ready-to-print toys‭” and that “All your favourite characters‭, ‬games‭, ‬and assembling blocks are immediately accessible‭,” that is undeniably amazing.

Having said that, the kids I understand are somewhat demanding of who their “favourite characters” are. Whilst the Indiegogo page does showcase a blocky character who seems an dreadful lot like Mario, there aren’t a lot of familiar characters of the likes of Disney, Pixar or the other well-loved heroes of kids TV. Attempting to take a nearer appear (by next the Indiegogo campaign’s advice to “Just search Yeehaw 3D”) resulted in disappointment — the app does not appear to be on the market on the app keep yet. It is complex to say what the 2,000 versions are that can be on the market.

3D printed Batman within the Yeehaw printing device

3D-printed Batman within the Yeehaw printing device.

The company says “Yehaw’s [sic] library already contains of 2000 open-source 3D printable-bodied objects that are royalty free under a Creative Commons (Share-Alike) license and that have been gathered of different types of online sources.” Which manufactures a lot of sense, but may somewhat much guarantee that your kids’ “favourite characters” aren’t going to be on the market. Copyright laws are pesky like that. The press materials supplied by the company included photos of the Cork Pals and SkullBot Thingiverse pages, that are both licensed under Creative Commons licenses as long as the versions are attributed. Neither were, that is an issue. The versions may be licensed under Creative Commons, but the photos themselves may well be copyrighted, that is why I haven’t included them in this article. The Batman bust shown in the company’s Indiegogo video is in addition unattributed, in addition of Thingiverse under an attribution license.

It is worth pointing out that nobody can realistically stop you of creating your own “tributes” to your favourite Disney, Marvel and DC Comics characters and 3D printing them by yourself, but technically, you risk running afoul of the “derivative works” part of copyright law. Distributing Creative Commons versions of Batman figurines through an app is bringing that a step additional and may prove problematic. DC Comics started officially licensing its characters for 3D printing via Launzer last year, and the company has been aggressive in pursuing companies creating replica Batmobiles and hunting down the Valencia football club’s new spread-wings-bat logo. I am not aware of any cases where character owners have gone after 3D version distributors, but it’s fair to expect that if DC, Marvel and company see a serious downturn in figurine sales, they may only spin up the lawyering machines.

$250 early-bird, $500 later

That's... not a Timelapse video, but a 3D rendered simulation. Why?!

That’s… not a time-lapse video, but a 3D-rendered simulation. Why?!

The early-bird printing devices are priced at $250 and the company claims they can donate in time for the holidays, but if that is to take place, there is a lot of work yet to do. The company has a tremendously slick Indiegogo campaign video (embedded below), that weirdly adequate does not include much video footage of the kids interacting with the printing device, or revealing the printing device in fact printing anything. In one part of the video, what seems to be a time-lapse is quite obviously a 3D render. I’m not saying the printing device does not work — the company’s PR representative showed me a printed figurine — but I’m not certain why the company felt the require to fake a video of the printing device in action.

I like a few of the innovations on the printing device; the thought of via “emotion lights” as status lights to indicate what the printing device is up to, and building the printing device fully see-through for educational purposes is a excellent thought.

The $500 retail price is somewhat steep, actually if it is kid-safe. I can’t assist but wonder whether instead of investing specifically in a printing device that’s safe for children, it manufactures additional sense to teach kids a few basic safety rules. You mayn’t let your 10-year-old near the power tools without a few basic safety lessons, for example. There are cheaper printing devices out there, and there are tried-and-tested printing devices in the sub-$500 category (like the FLSHFORGE Finder at $499, or the MOD-t 3D, that carries a $300 price tag), so it’s tricky to see where Yeehaw quite fits in.

Alarm bells

I’m all for a computer 3D printing device aimed at children, but there are strict rules for collecting data on children and their online behaviors. The company says that it “is working on being COPPA compliant at launch,” but the clock is ticking. So far the company hasn’t gone so far as to put a privacy policy, contact details or SSL certificates on its own website, all of that are basic requirements for the lengthy compliance system.

Ultimately, the campaign itself is setting off a number of alarm bells with me, both in terms of donatey date, whether the printing device can do what it claims, what the provenance and availability of the printable-bodied versions are and whether it is able-bodied to legally be marketed to children in the U.S. preceding it starts shipping.

On the whole, I’d be hesitant to recommend it outright, but have a appear at the Indiegogo page and manufacture your own judgement. If the project does all things it claims, it may be a present that may literally* blow the mind of 13-year-old me.

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