Mattel postpones release of toy-making ThingMaker 3D printer until fall 2017

Sep 27, 2016 | By Benedict

Mattel has delayed the launch of its ThingMaker 3D printer, which children can use to make custom toys, from fall 2016 until fall 2017. The company says it needs more time to enhance the “digital functionality” of the 3D printing product.

The youngest of up-and-coming makers might be set for a disappointing Christmas morning, because toymaker Mattel has just pushed back the release of its cool-sounding ThingMaker 3D printer until this time next year. The product, which was supposed to start shipping this month, will allow kids to design and fabricate their own customized toys, starting with preset designs or from scratch.

Back in the 1960s, Mattel released an activity toy called Thingmaker (or Creepy Crawlers), a series of metal molds into which kids could pour (and then heat) “Plastigoop” to create bug-like creatures in various colors. Thingmaker, or ThingMaker, has now been rebooted by Mattel, albeit in an entirely different form: that of a 3D printer. The machine and accompanying software have been designed to let kids create their own toy characters, which they can then fabricate themselves.

Release of the child-friendly ThingMaker 3D printer, which will retail for $300, has now been pushed back to fall 2017 so that Mattel can keep working on the machine and its accompanying app. The 3D printer was first unveiled this year at New York’s toy fair, attracting a great deal of attention from toy and 3D printing enthusiasts.

ThingMaker, collaboration with 3D software specialist Autodesk, will work with non-proprietary PLA filament, with 3D printed toys taking 30 minutes and 8 hours to print, depending on their size. To create larger pieces with moving parts, the ThingMaker will provide ball-and-joint templates, enabling kids to create snap-together toys with movable limbs and body parts. The 3D printer will be safe for children to use, with an automatic door locking system retractable print head.

A spokesperson for Mattel released the following statement regarding the delay: “After much consideration, Mattel has decided to move its Thingmaker/3D printer launch to Fall 2017. At Mattel, we pride ourselves on delivering best-in-class products and the additional time will allow us to enhance the digital functionality to ensure we deliver the most engaging end-to-end experience for all family members. We are grateful for the excitement around this product and look forward to exceeding expectations in 2017.”

Global online retailer Amazon started taking pre-orders for the ThingMaker in February, shortly after its announcement. The website suggested that the product would be shipped at the end of October 2016.

Posted in 3D Printer

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