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Mattel Unveils $300 3D Printer (computerworld.com) 108

Lucas123 writes: Perhaps in an attempt to get out ahead of the consumer 3D printing market, which has allowed popular toys such as Legos to be replicated, Mattel today announced it would begin shipping its $300 fused filament fabricator machine in October. Mattel's ThingMaker at-home toy-making device, reinvents the company's iconic 1960s toy by the same name. The new ThingMaker allows users to upload design files via Mattel's proprietary Design App, which works on Android or iOS devices. The 3D printer can then print single-part toys or print hundreds of different parts to be assembled into toys using ball-and-socket joints. Mattel's ThingMaker Design App is based on Autodesk's Spark, an open 3D printing platform that provides extensible APIs for each stage of the 3D printing workflow. Because it's based on an open architecture, the ThingMaker Design App also works with other 3D printers; it is available now and free to download for iOS and Android devices.
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Mattel Unveils $300 3D Printer

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I won't have to buy those 1K Makerbot shitty ones after all!

    • better yet...
      http://deltasine.com.au/ [deltasine.com.au] Disclaimer, I know the guy who owns the company and he has some really exciting new models in the pipeline.
    • It depends on whether you want something that works or not. I spent years, as a kid, seeing how easily Mattel toys break. I'm not about to trust them with $300 of my money.

      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        makerbot 5th gen mini (1k abouts) is a piece of shit.

        300 gets you a kit nowadays. a 300 bucks kit is better than 5th gen makerbots.. not better than last gen makerbots though. for under 1k you can get a clones of makerbot replicator 1/2 that are pretty decent(read: more reliable than 5th gen).

        and now theres plenty of offerings in the 350-1000 dollars range. they're all pretty much based on same parts and tech though, which isn't really that bad since it means cheap parts for service.

        • by piojo ( 995934 )

          Could you elaborate on how makerbots or other cheap 3D printers are deficient? Is it about print speed/quality/resolution or reliability? I'm interested in this market, but it's hard to evaluate products since I don't yet know about the things they're likely to fail at.

          • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

            makerbot replicator 1/2 and clones use different, very slightly different, kind of control board and run different (opensource) firmware than most repraps. it has minor feature differences on how it deals with pressure in the nozzle to other 8 bit boards. the only reason it works really well is due to open source contributions from couple of guys(mbi released buggy).

            makerbot 5th gens use a properiaty board with closed firmware and they rolled their own stepper controllers as well(which are noisy as hell). t

            • by piojo ( 995934 )

              Thanks, you not only answered what I asked but my more interesting question [slashdot.org] as well. So it sounds like the biggest problem with low budget printers is that the exact control of extruders and stepper motors is not something chip/firmware creators usually do well.

              • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

                well, it's ok by now. and you need good machining on the extruder/cooling it at the right spot. the trick is generating the commands beforehand on the computer(slicing) just well.

                and it does not get any better from low budget to high(3000-4000) dollar hobby/home printers. they all do it same way and most of the printers on the market run the same control softwares and use the same boards, even use same heater/nozzle setups - so from that point it makes little difference if you buy a lulzbot or a prusa kit -

          • by DrXym ( 126579 )
            All of these FDM printers are deficient. Even the best of them is slow as hell to run, they stink, they have limitations on what they can print (e.g. overhangs, slopes) and the models the make have a terrible surface texture. And flaws like like warping, shrinkage, misalignments, skewing, missing sections, strings etc. are commonplace.

            None of this probably matters if you're trying to print out parts that are utilitarian, where appearances are no big deal or you have the time to finish the piece. It matter

      • But at least we will get 24 months of warranty here in EU. So it will be built to last that long, or be expensive for Mattel.

    • The article seems to suggest it may *only* print parts from the catalog in their custom software though, and may not allow you to print random parts. Which to my mind removes most of what makes 3D-printing good in the first place.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @10:44PM (#51524759) Journal
    But being able to refer to the machine as a fused filament fabricator?

    Priceless.

  • by lhaeh ( 463179 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @10:50PM (#51524805)

    Way back in the day, they came out with the Barbie Digital Camera. It was the cheapest digital camera on the market by far. Many people who had no interest in Barbie bought them. It was $79 when most cameras were $300+, they got the price down by, among other things, using damaged DRAM chips.

    http://www.superkids.com/aweb/... [superkids.com]

  • Question. (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @10:52PM (#51524817) Homepage Journal
    How much would it cost to print a RealDoll-type sex toy on one of these?
    I'm asking for a friend.
    • by FatdogHaiku ( 978357 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @11:06PM (#51524907)

      How much would it cost to print a RealDoll-type sex toy on one of these? I'm asking for a friend.

      OK, printing a sex doll will cost a lot...
      Printing a friend?
      Priceless!

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      How much would it cost to print a RealDoll-type sex toy on one of these?
      I'm asking for a friend.

      Wow.. I have a new idea.

      Want to invest in my "meat in a tank meet 3D-printer technology"-vaporware company?

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )

      How much would it cost to print a RealDoll-type sex toy on one of these?

      Not as much as it costs for firefighters to cut you free from it and the trip to ER afterwards.

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @11:01PM (#51524865)

    At least, it was for a six-year-old kid. It fell victim to the "maybe we shouldn't have kids handling 400-degree hot molds" mindset, with an added dose of "maybe all those volatile organic fumes aren't the greatest thing for your kid to be huffing".

    Let's hope the new one is worth of the name.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @11:03PM (#51524875)
    Aren't the fumes from these things still kinda dangerous? I'm just saying in not 100% confident parents can be trusted to use them in a well ventilated place
  • Battery covers. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @11:04PM (#51524885)

    Can I print replacement battery covers with it? That would be pretty useful. The finish looks pretty good I wonder if the tolerances are good enough for the clips to work.

    • Re:Battery covers. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Wycliffe ( 116160 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @12:54AM (#51525363) Homepage

      Can I print replacement battery covers with it? That would be pretty useful. The finish looks pretty good I wonder if the tolerances are good enough for the clips to work.

      I've thought about this too. There are a lot of little things around the house that might be worth printing (or ordering printed from a "kinkos" type service). The biggest problem is that you need a 3d model of it before you can print it. Even if you have a 2nd one to copy, the 3d scanners aren't really good enough to do it without post editing. It would be great if manufacturers let you download battery cover 3d files like you can download printer drivers but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        Why couldn't we have pirated battery cover models? You could even make a pirate logo into each one.

        There are just a few hundred brands and styles of remotes at current shouldn't be too hard to get a collection going.

        • My guess is that the manufacturers really aren't going to care about pirating for basic replacement parts like battery covers. Once 3d scanners become more popular, if it's a popular item you could borrow from a friend or even get online and ask for a 3d scan of it. Battery covers although thought of as cheap need to have a fairly tight tolerance to fit correctly so winging it would probably take multiple attempts and/or an exacto knife. Even with a 3d file, my guess is that it might take multiple prints

      • There are places where you can get a lot of 3d printer files that people have created for various things. Some of these are free, others want you to pay for them, it all depends. I'll let you locate them, but a word of warning, since the article seems to say that the mattel 3d printer uses it's proprietary software, it probably won't be any use to find those files in the first place.
    • by piojo ( 995934 )

      Can I print replacement battery covers with it? That would be pretty useful. The finish looks pretty good I wonder if the tolerances are good enough for the clips to work.

      Since you have to use a toy-oriented mobile app for modeling, you probably won't be able to make any sort of precise design.

      • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

        I highly doubt it will be a requirement to use only their app after all the goal is to sell the hardware and supplies.

        Well then again afaik the cricut machines are still pretty worthless.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like can only print from a propriety library of models. Associated cost?

    At least until soneone hacks the firmware to allow Repetier control.

  • Not with any current 3d printing technology, at least. Give the tech a few more years, and maybe...
  • Some observations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Tuesday February 16, 2016 @11:10PM (#51524923) Homepage Journal

    Lots of people will point out the many problems with this system, but from an initial glance(*):

    1) The filament spools are not chipped. You can get filament from other vendors and rewind them on your spools. Chances are, other vendors will notice this and start selling ThingMaker spools.
    2) The FAQ states that if you don't have a printer, there are many places that will print parts for you. I assume this means that the output format *isn't* proprietary, possibly a bog-standard stl file that you can have printed anywhere.

    If, and this is a big if, the heads can be easily replaced, then this could be quite an exciting development in 3d printing. As hackers, we'll be able to get cheap used 3d ThingMakers off of eBay for decades.

    (*) Please correct me if any of these are wrong

    • by c ( 8461 )

      2) The FAQ states that if you don't have a printer, there are many places that will print parts for you. I assume this means that the output format *isn't* proprietary, possibly a bog-standard stl file that you can have printed anywhere.

      Apparently the software is just a branded Autodesk Tinkerplay [123dapp.com]. Surprisingly enough, Autodesk seems to be serious about consumer-level 3D printing and they seem to get that proprietary is pretty much a non-starter at the moment.

  • Lawsuits in 3...2...1
  • Ken (Score:5, Funny)

    by FrankDrebin ( 238464 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @12:17AM (#51525177) Homepage
    Looks like Ken is finally gonna get some junk.
  • It is dark brown, lumpy and coming out of the bottom of the doll figure, on the far left.
  • Nice, but I expect it will use proprietary everything, from the feed-stock to the nozzles to the software and whatever else they can make non-standard...and my guess is that it'll all be heavily DRM-protected as well.

    If I'm wrong, great, but knowing Mattel and the current state of the market I won't hold my breath.

    • Plus, it's Mattel. It probably melts the filament using an incandescent light bulb.
    • The article says that the design / print software is based on an open software package and it works with other 3D printers.

      If the software uses standard protocols to talk to printers, that suggests that printer accepts the standard protocol and can therefore be controlled by other software.

      • The article says that the design / print software is based on an open software package and it works with other 3D printers.

        The article I read said, "Users upload design files via Mattel's proprietary Design App....", so it doesn't sound open to me. (??)

        But I also see that it's "based on Autodesk's Spark, an open 3D printing platform", so now I'm a bit confused....maybe some bits are open and some aren't.

        As for hardware, I hope it's made from standard parts and pieces, but if not, an aftermarket will probably spring up to provide alternatives.

        All in all it sounds interesting, but at $300 I'm keeping my expectations low.

  • That's only $100 per D!
  • Okay, not really free. But I thought the only part of a 3D printer that a talented tinkerer couldn't build is the controller/software/firmware and the extruder. Does this really cost $300? What are the pitfalls of making your own printer with an extremely minimal kit (only an extruder and a chip)? Getting compatibility between the parts would take bloody ages, but is there any intrinsic reason why this doesn't work, or is it merely difficult (like restoring a car)?

    • I've a friend who's tried two kits, and is so totally fed up with them being pieces of finicky (@#%$^&!) garbage that he's junked them and hit the kickstarter for https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tiko3d/tiko-the-unibody-3d-printer/updates
      I hope it lives up to his expectations. Also, we have a gamer in our tabletop group who'd really love a set of braille dice as she's totally blind, just ask her guide dog, so we have ulterior motives for that one to work well. ;)
      • by piojo ( 995934 )

        I've a friend who's tried two kits, and is so totally fed up with them being pieces of finicky (@#%$^&!) garbage that

        In what way were the kits junk? I'm curious about whether a fully built printer would necessarily be better. Was it about part interoperability, or just that the kit had bad controller/interface? (I mean, was it because they weren't good kits, or because they were kits?)

        • The problem with kits is that you only get the precision you put in it. Between the metal/plastic/wood parts having their own tolerances and the need for very precise measuring tools to put them all together, for most people that's near impossible to get right. A unibody system would solve it by injection molding or laser cutting the parts that have to be precise and at uniform lengths.

      • I'm curious...what are the specifications for braille dice?

    • People do build there own, and there are about a jillion web sites with more information, including detailed plans in some cases.

      A main reason it's not cheaper is that tolerances add up. If you have .05" of slop in your screw drive, and 0.05" in your motors, and 0.05 in your bearings, and 0.05 sideways slop in your Z axis, that means each layer may be 0.2 inches off from the last - almost a quarter inch. That's totally unusable. To get 0.001" or better on all your moving parts means you'll be buying some

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      look for BOM on reprap.org for some printer or on thingiverse.
      or google for repstraps(repstrap being a term for a home built 3d printer that doesn't use 3d printed parts). people do them all the time.

      the pitfall is that it takes time to get it working right. the upshot is that at least you know how the gddamn machine works - and maybe have a better chance of knowing why it's not working when it doesn't.

      the upshot is that there's online stores where you could buy all the parts you need and there's really n

  • Perhaps in an attempt to get out ahead of the consumer 3D printing market, which has allowed popular toys such as Legos to be replicated Even the best fused filament printers on their finest, highest detail settings produce something whose quality can be best described as ass. Aside from the atrocious surface finish they suck at producing sharp corners and fine details. You might produce something approximating LEGO but it would be terrible quality.

    That said I'm somewhat surprised that LEGO haven't produ

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday February 17, 2016 @04:37AM (#51526017) Homepage Journal

    which has allowed popular toys such as Legos to be replicated

    Bzzzt, WRONG!!!!

    There is no such thing as Legos, you buffoon.

    • Yes there absolutely is. I played with Legos as a kid, and they remain popular today. What IS new is people listening to a corporate marketing department and altering their natural speech to accommodate a copyrighted term. And, for some bizarre reason, these people appoint themselves language nazis and start correcting other people's speech. That's right, whenever people use the term that the megamillion dollar corporation dislikes, they step in and tell others they're wrong. It's utterly bizarre and i
  • And can I make creepy crawlers with it?
  • Print the parts you need, when you need.... LEGO 3D

    YES!!!!!!!

  • What are the X, Y, and Z microns? What are my infill options? How about supports? Does it have a heated bed?

    I looked around on the internet and didn't find any of the information which says what quality of printer this is. The samples look pretty but then again they're the best that could be done by professionals using perfectly tuned equipment.

    My 3D printer was $350 and does 15 microns on the X and Y and down to 50 microns on the Z. I can control my infill. I can download from various file sharing sit

  • FTA: "...proprietary Design App, which works on Android or iOS devices"
    Does that mean you must design on smartphones?

  • I like my wooden Makerbot
  • $300 for the printer

    $25 for the filament and it does a very limited number of items.

    Considering that it's aimed at children who will have no concept at limiting how many items that they will print (unless it's really slow and they get bored by it) then they will make their money selling refills.

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