Mattel brings back ThingMaker, lets you 3D print toys

Mattel brings back ThingMaker device from the 60s, updates it with 3D toy printing capability.

Published Mon, Feb 15 2016 3:23 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 12:01 PM CST

Some of you will remember the ThingMaker, a 60s Mattel product that saw you pouring liquid plastic into metal molds to create crude toys. In a clever move, Mattel is bringing the ThingMaker back as a 3D printing device.

Mattel brings back ThingMaker, lets you 3D print toys |

The updated device works in tandem with either an iOS or Android app, wherein you design figurines, jewelry and the like, then send them wirelessly to the ThingMaker, at which point it makes a thing. The app includes basic blueprints, and new parts for existing designs can be printed. Mattel says integrating brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels into the app is part of its longer term strategy.

Safety is of course a concern, and Mattel has handled it by implementing doors that automatically lock when the printer is in use, and making the printing head retracts out of reach when it's not doing its thing, preventing kids from touching it.

Standard filaments will work with the ThingMaker; it's said a 1kg spool of plastic (roughly $40) will net you 20 figurines, 30 pieces of jewelry, or 100 rings.

The ThingMaker will ship in autumn; it can be pre-ordered now on Amazon for $300.


Sean has a background in journalism, and has been using that to write about gaming and tech since 2008 - first for Neoseeker, then Rage3D, and now, TweakTown. As News Editor, Sean's job is to supply regular stories on the latest happenings in the tech world. He also writes tweak guides to help you get the most out of your PC games and hardware.

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