Mattel reveals 3D printer for kids

Mattel reveals 3D printer for kids

Toy manufacturer Mattel will launch a 3D printer for children in the fall, allowing them to "print" their own toys. The ThingMaker 3D uses an Android and iOS app, which is already available for download.

For small and (grown-up) DIY'ers

Mattel presented a 3D version of its ThingMaker device at the New York Toy Fair. The original ThingMaker launched in 1960 and which used molds and plastic to create figurines if they were heated. Its "successor", the ThingMaker 3D, was a collaboration with Autodesk, known for its 3D design software AutoCAD.


Designs are created with the ThingMaker app (available now on Android and iOS), which will also contain several ready-made designs for those with a lack of inspiration. The app can also be used for other 3D printers. The printing process used colourful pla filament, although the company will use other printing materials in the future.


The ThingMaker 3D is geared towards children and that is why several safeguards have been added: the printing head will automatically retract so that children cannot burn themselves, while the printer closes itself with a transparent valve. This gives children an opportunity to follow the entire process, without any risk of harm.


A ring would take about 20 minutes to print, while an action figure would take about 6 to 8 hours. The suggested retail price is some 300 dollars, but it remains to be seen whether the printer will also come to Europe.


View-Master will also come back

Mattel also unveiled a new View-Master version in New York, called the View-Master Virtual Reality Viewer in collaboration with Google. The improved model will get a wheel to adjust the lenses' focus and a more solid case. Smaller smartphones (like the iPhone 5) are now also supported.


Fans will have to wait until the fall for the new View-Master, which would cost about 40 dollars.