The ThingMaker 3D Printer was created by toy makers Mattel and 3D software who teamed up to produce a kid friendly 3D printer that is simple to use. You and your kids will have a blast designing and playing with creations that you made by yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Using the free of charge ThinkMaker Design app which is available from both Google Play and the Apple App store, you can design all sorts of toys.
The different parts use a ball and socket joint that snaps each part together to assemble the physical product. Larger designs include figures like scorpions, skeletons, bracelets, necklaces and dinosaurs for instance.
Mattel recommends this machine for users aged 13+. Ultimately this is for kids who love to create things and are seeking to explore and discover the world of 3D design. It might even appeal to adults who are interested in the world of 3D printing but were previously put off by the technicalities involved.
Easy to use and ridiculously intuitive is how early testers have described the ThingMaker and both those comments tick the right boxes for us.
We also liked that a lot of safety features had been put in place such as an automated door lock to stop any chance of injuries such as burns when the printer is working.
It's hard to judge a product that hasn't been released yet. 3D printing is still fairly new and this is fairly cutting edge. One thing to take into account: this isn't like a computer printer where you print and it is done in seconds. A small figure will take around 30 minutes to print and something large would need a number of hours so if you are impatient and want fast results this isn't going to be for you.
When it is released on 15th October it will retail at $299.99
This child friendly 3D Printer should be available from most toy shops and all the big Online retailers. Amazon already have it on their site available for pre-order.
Although there are other 3D printers available on the market now that are equally affordable most of them have a steep learning curve. What you are paying for with this 3D printer is the straight forward usability of the software so that even kids [or technically challenged adults] can get to grips with it.
Ultimately how successful a product ThingMaker 3D Printer is going to be will be tested once it goes on sale and there is feedback from users. It is also going to depend on how the product is expanded upon and the further cost of the material used to print the 3D figures. If costs for materials can be kept low and the talked about expansions ['Barbie and Hot Wheels' are two that have been mentioned] are put in place it looks like a winner.
Have fun creating and playing with figures that you made yourself;
Right at home Design with the ThingMaker Design app, available for free in the Apple App store and Google Play (available now!)
Print from the cloud - send your designs straight from a tablet or web browser
Safety features include a Retracting Print Head, Automated Door Lock, and Integrated Filament System
Choose from a variety of templates