Just as the View-Master release last year was a 21st century update on an old toy, the ThingMaker is an update on an original idea which saw kids making ‘Creepy Crawlies’ made of something called Plastigoop, which they’d cast in die-cast moulds. The ThingMaker which will be released later this year will be a 3D-printer allowing kids imaginations to run wild, designing, creating and printing their own toys from start to finish.
The software for the 3D printer, called ThingMaker Design, will be available for both Android and iOS users with the app available now on Google Play. The backend provided by Autodesk, who Aslan Appleman, senior director, at Mattel describes as 3D design experts.
The app, which runs on devices running Android 4.2 and above, will contain a range of pre-set designs such as dolls, robots and dinosaurs, as well as what Mattel calls ‘wearable accessories’ which means bracelets and necklaces. The app also lets you design your own components including small parts which can then be snapped together.
The app also supports standard 3D printing file (STL) formats, allowing anyone to simply use the app to print to an existing 3D printer.
Consumables for the ThingMaker will be available in multiple colours, though Mattel hasn’t provided details on cost or whether the ThingMaker will take generic filaments.
The ThingMaker will be priced at US$299 though you can pre-order the unit right now on Amazon – though even the slowest shipping option will set you back US$177.
Mattel hasn’t announced any plans for international availability at this stage but we’ve reached out to Mattel Australia to find out if there are plans to release the ThingMaker here in Australia.