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Mattel's 3D toy printer gives kids toys on demand

By
Shawn Price
Mattel teamed up with Autodesk to bring the first child-friendly 3D printers into consumer homes with ThingMaker, a 21st Century version of their 1960s-era toy-making oven. Though not available until October, pre-orders are being taken on Amazon now and a non-working prototype was shown at this weekend's Toy Fair in Manhattan. Photo courtesy Mattel
Mattel teamed up with Autodesk to bring the first child-friendly 3D printers into consumer homes with ThingMaker, a 21st Century version of their 1960s-era toy-making oven. Though not available until October, pre-orders are being taken on Amazon now and a non-working prototype was shown at this weekend's Toy Fair in Manhattan. Photo courtesy Mattel

NEW YORK, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- A new 3D toy printer could bring families the ability to print a wide variety of plastic toys on demand, Mattel and Autodesk announced at New York's Toy Fair.

The two companies are teamed up to bring back Mattel's ThingMaker, a toy-making machine from the 1960s with which children could mold plastic toys in a miniature oven. The new version -- at $299.99 -- will instead print them up.

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The ThingMaker, which looks like a small microwave oven, will work with a 3D printing app for iOS and Android and will print customized toys like dolls, dinosaurs, fairies, jewellery, robots and skeletons, among other things. Children will be able to drag and drop from templates and print one part at a time and then assemble the pieces together.

The app can work for other 3D printers now while kids and tech fans wait for the machine's October arrival. Pre-orders are now being taken on Amazon.

"We think this is the perfect time for us to come out in the market with a product that's disruptive in our opinion," said Aslan Appleman, a senior director at Mattel.

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And Mattel is already working on how ThingMaker can be used with some of its other toys, like Hot Wheels and Barbie.

"In today's digital age, it's more important than ever for families to transcend the digital world and make their ideas real," said Appleman. "ThingMaker pushes the boundaries of imaginative play, giving families countless ways to customize their toys and let their creativity run wild."

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