Toy making giant Mattel has given one of its classic toy models a modern makeover by creating a 3D printer for kids. ThingMaker is the high tech version of the 1960’s original, allowing kids to create toys of any shape via their phones or tablets.
With a companion app, available on Android and iOS, ThinkMaker allows the new toys to be rendered on a smart phone to tablet and then wirelessly transmitted to the printer. The loaded blueprints include jewellery, scorpions, skeletons and more which can be customised with the range of coloured PLA plastic filament, the standard in the 3D printing movement. Once printed, ball-and-socket joints allow for the toys to be further customised and combined.
Launching in October and retailing for US$300, the 3D printer will by far be the cheapest on the market, but that’s no guarantee the kids will fall for the new technology. It seems kids have yet to completely give over to the what 21st century toy makers have to offer after classic companies have reported massive growth.
Lego boasted a 27 percent profit rise in first six months of last year according to The Guardian. The iconic brick building toy saw a boost following The Lego Movie in 2014 and will hope to have another in 2018 when the sequel is released.
Even without a movie, kids can’t get enough of Play-Doh. According to Fortune, the humble multi-coloured dough product, which launched in 1956, has reported double-digit revenue growth for three consecutive years, including a 32 percent increase in 2015.
For those who do invest in a ThingMaker, be it for the kids or parents, there will no doubt be be excitement watching it print.
However, with it taking up to three hours to make a small item, like a ring, and up to eight hours for a larger toy, it’ll prove a real test to kids’ patience.