Additive Manufacturing Strategies

The Makies: 3D Printed Personalized Dolls

ST Medical Devices

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If you never wanted to buy a doll before, this just might be the tipping point. The Makies are a London based doll line that can be customized unlike any other.  From toe to top, these innovative creatures can be shaped and changed to be whatever you want. Introduced in 2012, these dolls are now making an even bigger splash and it’s not hard to see why.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.05.13 AMMakies are created through a FabLap app that can be downloaded and allows you (or the doll lover in your life) to create a doll that is one of a kind. Using sliders to adjust things such as body type and face shape, and then making choices about hair, eyes and fashion, to make a doll that is truly one of kind. The app runs as a game in which players can create a wardrobe and compete with others to design the most fashionable looks. Photos of the creation can be shared on social networks and you can browse through other’s creations for inspiration.

Then, when you have fallen in love with the perfect one, a code is generated which allows you to go online and have it printed. This printing purchase can’t be made through the app, a great safety feature so that parents aren’t surprised by a charge. And the Makies aren’t cheap, at about $115 per doll.Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.14.13 AM

The fun doesn’t stop once the first doll has been created. Makie dolls have completely interchangeable parts, so if you have more than one you have the potential to create new ‘mixtures’ at home. There are also a line of accessories for the dolls such as an ‘eye bundle’ or a variety of wigs so that you can continue to customize your doll in real life.  The interchangeable nature of their parts means that if something breaks, it can be easily replaced.

The dolls are printed on an industrial machine, the P100, and if you look closely, knowing that you are looking for it, you can faintly see the trademark 3D print pattern in the nylon plastic. This, however, only seems to add to the overall charm of the doll and makes them feel different than others. While their bodies are high tech, their clothes are all made by hand in the MakieLab workshop.It currently takes about two weeks for the dolls to be printed and delivered, but off the shelf Makies, each unique, can also be bought if waiting isn’t an option.55564c07d751

The creators of Makies have a commitment to the production of responsible products. According to a statement on their website:

“Makies are produced…by folks who believe in sustainability and local production. Their bodies are 3D printed in the UK and Amsterdam, and the process is highly efficient and waste-free. Their clothes are made by hand in MakieLab’s workshop, and even their packaging is sourced in the UK…We assemble all Makies by hand with love…Many of us in the Lab are parents and very picky toy shoppers ourselves, and we’re making toys that we’re very happy for our own kids to play with.”

This type of interactive personalization is becoming more common in all areas, but is particularly interesting in toys because of the introduction of the possibilities of 3D creation to children. While the kids aren’t directly creating the code, they are generating the data through sliders and buttons and this is a great way to introduce the power of making at a young age.

Screen Shot 2014-06-28 at 11.05.30 AMI too am a parent and after reading about Makies, I downloaded the app for my 6-year-old daughter and she is currently happily ensconced in the creation of fashion. The interface is easy and intuitive and we were able to figure the game out easily. The creative nature of the pattern making really appeals to her interest in art and before I know it, her Makie may have a closet full of clothes. In fact, she was enjoying herself so much that my 9-year-old son actually got involved too – Makies aren’t just for girls.

I haven’t told them that the dolls can be printed yet because I don’t know if our budget will allow it, but it’s certainly on my radar.  Do you have children? Have you tried Makies yet, or even ordered a doll? Let’s hear your opinion at the Makies forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below provided by Makies.

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