Way back in the early 1960s Mattel released a product call ThingMaker.
Kids used the ThingMaker to make creepy crawlers, which were squishy, plastic bugs. Youtube has a 1964 Mattel Creepy Crawler TV commercial, which nicely describes the product and provides a nostalgic look at life in the 1960s.
Let's face it, ThingMaker is a great name for a 3D printer. So Mattel's decision to use it for their new 3D printer (shown below) is not surprising.
To be released this fall, the $300 ThingMaker is designed to allow families to print a wide range of small toys and other objects.
The ThingMaker comes with a tablet and smartphone app which is used to design objects and/or to download designs from the cloud.
Despite enormous hype, 3D printers have been slow to catch on in the home. The reasons include 3D printers being too pricey, too slow, too limited in terms of what they can do and too hard to use.
It will be interesting to see if Mattel can overcome these hurdles. They certainly have a number of advantages, especially vast experience building devices that are fun and easy to use.
I'm also curious to see how Mattel responds to what will likely be a wide range of not always family friendly "altered Barbie" 3D printer designs that will no doubt show up in the cloud.
Mattel, BTW, is not the only 3D printer company looking to be in your home.
Natural Machines make the Foodini, a home 3D food printer that they say combines technology, food, art and design.
Both look like a lot of fun and may be the start of widespread use of 3D printers in the home.