Companies like LEGO have already harnessed the potential of additive manufacturing (AM) for creating new parts and reducing waste. Following suit, Mattel, with its unwavering commitment to fostering innovation, embarked on its 3D printing odyssey. Led by the visionary Jack Peach, Chief Innovation Engineer, and Product Design Team Leader, Mattel established a dedicated team for researching and developing new toys. This team supports Mattel’s legendary portfolio of iconic brands, including Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Uno, and Monster High. By integrating 3D printing into their operations, Mattel’s team has gained remarkable control over their production process and timelines. On-demand manufacturing of high-quality custom parts empowers them to fashion more efficient and precise models akin to injection molding assemblies. This agility accelerates the testing of a toy’s features, increasing the likelihood of success and ensuring that more innovative products find their way into the hands of eager children.
Jack Peach elaborates, “With a 3D printer, you don’t have to re-fabricate the entire prototype by hand. You can make a few adjustments digitally, send it to the printer, and print a new part quickly. This process makes modifications, testing, and reviewing much easier and quicker.” Consequently, experts can swiftly adapt the design based on feedback and test results.
Mattel’s adoption of Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) has empowered them to iterate rapidly, experimenting with various shapes, materials, and mechanical features. The industrial-grade 3D printing materials they employ, such as ABS-R and Nylon Carbon Fiber, ensure durability to validate form and function.
This seamless integration of 3D printing technology accelerates innovation and aligns with Mattel’s vision to create toys that inspire, educate, and delight children worldwide. Through their commitment to innovation and the transformative potential of 3D printing, Mattel continues to shape the toys of tomorrow, bringing joy and imagination to countless young minds.