Thingmaker Becomes 3D Printer


1960s toy the “Thingmaker” is getting a revamp for 21st century technology. What was once a set of molds for making gloopy replicas is now a 3D printer for kids.

Mattel has relaunched the range, which was originally used to make everything from Creepy Crawlers to characters from Peanuts. It involved pouring a liquid plastic (similar to PVC) into the metal mold then heating it on a stovetop. Once heated and cooled, the material became semi-solid, creating a new toy to play with (assuming the child hadn’t found more entertainment with the scorching hot metal mold.)

The new incarnation of ThingMaker is being pushed as a “3D printing eco-system” which appears to mean it’s a printer with an associated app. Developed by Autodesk, the app lets owners either work from templates or make creations from scratch using individual components. The creations are then printed as components that fix together with ball and socket joints.


As with the original product range, there’ll be a series of updates with licensed components. Given Mattel’s products, and the fact that the company is pushing the possibilities of mix and matching, this could mean some wonderfully weird, if not downright terrifying, toys showing up such as a Barbie doll with Thomas The Tank Engine’s head.


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