As 3D printers become ubiquitous, it’s inevitable that their availability will reach larger and larger customer bases, including a group that doesn’t really have their own money: kids. Now why would a kid need a 3D printer exactly? Uh, why else? So they can make their own toys!
Mattel is introducing their own 3D printer for children that will allow them to design and make their own unique toys. The ThingMaker (a call-back to an older toy of theirs) will work with ThinkMakerDesign, an iOS and Android compatible app that lets kids create “fun characters, scary creatures, or jewelry” with their own chosen colors and textures. They will even be able to print different parts of toys and put them together on their own. It’s like printing imagination.
Although designed for kids, it looks like this 3D printer will work like most other ones for sale, using a PLA plastic filament as the printing material. Don’t worry parents, it also comes with all kinds of safety features to make sure your kids don’t accidentally hurt themselves during the printing process.
Kids will have the option to use templates, or just start from scratch. (Besides promoting creativity and the use of their imaginations, the printer will also teach kids what it’s like to be an adult and have to figure out what to do for dinner all on your own before you just grab a takeout menu.)
A ThingMaker will run you 300 dollars, and you can pre-order one now on Amazon, but it is not scheduled to be available until October.