MakerBot Replicator and DIY Designer Toys?

Makerbot at Comic-Con 2012

3D printing is getting closer to being a reality for amateurs and in-home use. The MakerBot folks were on hand at Comic-Con to demonstrate their newest machine, The MakerBot Replicator, priced at $1,749. They’re billing it as the “ultimate personal 3D printer,” and it allows makers to start printing objects (in multiple colors, as big as a loaf of bread) right out of the box.

Makerbot at Comic-Con 2012

Digital printing aficionado, Dave Bondi, whipped up his Akashi, a custom Omi and designs by Joe Ledbetter and Ron English while fans watched at Munky King’s booth. With a MakerBot Replicator, you can make and multiply your own creations or choose thousands of others from growing online databases and communities.

In distilled essence: MakerBot allows you to think of an object you need (“I just cracked my iPhone inCase case again!”) or come up with your own unique idea (“Ron English-style vinyl toy mascot for Kashi cereal”), bring it into 3D physical reality and multiply it. Whoa.

Makerbot at Comic-Con 2012

Collectors of designer toys have been tepid on this technology, but consider the fact that the Replicator lets you print in either ABS (like LEGOs) or PLA (a bio-material made from corn). Not only that, but you can easily replace broken parts and even mint your own accessories. Imagine if your basic ink jet printer laid down fine powder and glue instead of ink and moved vertically instead of horizontally, and you’ll have a simplified understanding of “additive manufacturing”. Vinyl is so Toy Art 1.0.

What do you think about seeing art toys made on-demand? Consider it a modern counterpart to Rotofugi’s Roto-a-Matic (but with you in the designer’s position) or a minimal MAQET (but where you control the shape).

Makerbot at Comic-Con 2012

Here’s Bondi showing off his neon green, 3D-printed custom Omi. Click through for a couple closeups of 3D prints that you might recognize…

Dave Bondi x Joe Ledbetter

Dave Bondi x Joe Ledbetter

Dave Bondi x Ron English

Dave Bondi x Ron English

See also Wired’s New 3D Printers That Don’t Suck.

Read all about Comic-Con 2012 in one convenient digest here.

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