It seems like only a short time ago when a 3D printer was the stuff of science fiction books. Then they became a reality, albeit a very expensive one. Now, amazingly, a toymaker has released a 3D printer that is not only simple enough for a child to operate, but it is also reasonably price enough for a parent or grandparent to purchase. Introducing the Thingmaker 3D Printer from Mattel. We predict that you and your kids will have non-stop fun making stuff with this mind-blowing product and software.
In order to use it, you will have to go to either Google Play or the Apple App Store and download the ThinkMaker Design app, which is free of charge. Then, start designing all the toys you can imagine.
The various components make use of a ball and socket joint that snaps each part together to assemble the physical product. Larger designs include figures such as dinosaurs, skeletons, scorpions and even necklaces and other jewelery.
Ages thirteen and older are the range recommended by Mattel for this device. Those who appreciate it the most will be youngsters who enjoy creating things, and want to delve into and understand the very new universe of 3D design. Other happy users will be grownups who have wanted to get into 3D printing, but until now has been out of their reach, both technically and financially.
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Thumbs Up Points
When you factor in that 3D printers are about as state of the art as it gets, for one to be this simple to operate and mind-blowingly intuitive, as reported by its first users, and beta testers, ThingMaker gets 11 points out of ten.
Equally as impressive were the very thoughtful safety features. For example, before the printer starts doing its thing, its door automatically locks shut, so the chance of accidental burn injuries is essentially nil. You don’t want to touch the workings while the printer is doing its thing.
Thumbs Down Points
Making judgements on a product so new it has only been beta tested and won’t be accessible to the general public for another few months is almost like consulting a “magic eight ball.” Nevertheless, those who hope to get one need to understand that 3D printing is a long process. It’s not like your computer printer that zaps out documents in a blink of an eye. Even small figures will take somewhere in the neighborhood of half an hour to print. A larger object could take several hours. Patience, therefore, is a necessary virtue. This is not a Star Trek replicator. Instant results ain’t gonna happen.
Value in a Nutshell
This is not the only 3D printer available for sale now within this price ballpark, but the big difference with the Mattel ThingMaker is the learning curve. With this product, you can start using it almost instantly. Kits and even their grandparents who are less comfortable with technology will be able to use this 3D printer practically right out of the box. That’s how intuitive it is to operate.
The anticipated release date for the general sale of this kid-friendly 3D printer is mid-October, 2016. That is when it will not only be in most toy shops but also from large online retail outlets such as Amazon.com and Target. As a matter of fact, it is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
And In conclusion
At the end of the day, the bottom line success factor of the Mattel ThingMaker 3D printer will be how it shakes out when it becomes available for sale to the general public. That is slated for about two months from the time when this review was published. Another factor will be how expensive it will be to purchase the supplies you need to operate the machine. We recall all too well an ordinary 2-D computer printer that sold for a very cheap price but the ink cartridges for it cost an arm and a leg. Only time will tell.