Once you become a parent, the word ‘patience’ becomes central in your world. Most likely, you are never in full supply of this wonderful quality again, but you find yourself expounding on it quite often to small children and then teenagers who seem to have little comprehension regarding the practice of waiting. This often applies to ‘things.’ Why we can’t have material items right away is of course, a never-ending source of frustration; hopefully though, when the item you are waiting on sounds like hours of magical fun, it will be worth a wait. But brace yourselves, because if you’ve already promised your kids Mattel’s ThingMaker 3D printer, now you also get to explain to them that it will be available sometime, um, in a year.
What’s a year wait, however, when it comes to the opportunity to make your own toys? At a price of only $300, many parents or kids who have saved up and are paying are probably willing to wait. The ship date was supposed to be this month, but Mattel has decided to push their deadline back significantly as they work to ‘enhance the digital functionality’ further. Considering this retailer is willing to miss the Christmas season, there must be major cause indeed for such a delay.
“After much consideration, Mattel has decided to move its Thingmaker/3D printer launch to Fall 2017,” said the company. “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. For more information/updates on product avail[ability] visit Thingmaker.”
Shown off at the Toy Fair earlier this year (and set for pre-order at Amazon), the 3D printer was still in fairly basic form, although meant to be reminiscent of the Creepy Crawlers from the ’60s, modernizing the process of pouring goo into molds. This extra time will perhaps allow them to spruce up the 3D printer a bit more, although at $300, this is definitely a budget machine—accompanied by an app which offers figures to choose from, but allows you to edit them however you want. The software offers settings for different colors as well as textures, all then sent to the printer via .stl file. Mattel has said that it will use a ‘hard PLA filament’ for 3D printing, and was on display in New York demonstrating use with around two dozen different colors.
3D printed parts are fabricated batch by batch, and then assembled as they snap together. The printing process is fairly expedient as 3D printing goes, thankfully for children’s shorter attention spans, with only 30 minutes for less complex objects, but six to eight hours for larger models.
The ThingMaker process should get pretty exciting for creative kids who can make a wide range of customized figures, from dinosaurs to their own action figures with a variety of accoutrements. The whole idea is to embrace both the benefits of 3D printing and toymaking at home, creating a wealth of designs and models that will most likely never be available anywhere else. And of course, along with all of this fun comes an enticing introduction to STEM education, creating a new generation of designers and engineers. Come on, 2017! Are you waiting on a ThingMaker? Discuss further over in the ThingMaker 3D Printer forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Engadget; TechCrunch]