Play-Doh, Hasbro’s glutenous modeling compound with the Proustian aroma, has offered hand-powered extruding kits since your parents were eating the stuff in the 1970s.
But this year, at a invitation-only preview event away from the prying eyes at Toy Fair, Hasbro was showing off the latest in their Play-Doh extrusion kits, tailor made to jump on the Next Big Thing: the DohVinci.
Looking like a hand-held glue gun, the DohVinci appeared a few days after Hasbro announced a collaboration with 3D Systems, to, in corporate speak, “co-develop, co-venture and deliver new immersive, creative play experiences powered by 3D printing for children and their families later this year.” The juxtaposition of the two events has set some industry minds pondering why the company showed off a product that is a primitive extruder along with a new formulation of Play Doh that produces smooth results when run through that toy.
We’ve been waiting for the Play-Doh 3D printer to become a reality since it was foreshadowed by an April Fools’ day prank on ThinkGeek.com.
Of course, extruding Play-Doh (and similar materials) through a 3D printer is not new. Hyrel has been doing it since sometime around Winter 2013 with their desktop printers the “Engine” and “System 30“. (The Engine was not quite ready for Make’s July / August printer testing, and the System appeared later.)
Both these printers can print in multiple materials by using Hyrel’s swappable extruders. The EMO-25 extruder can print in Play-Doh, clay, Plasticine and Silicone RTV. It’s already available for pre-order.
Here’s a vine of the Hyrel System in action at CES: Printing Play-Doh
There is an open container of Play-Doh under the printer bed. You can see it in the Vine.
The news here (if there is news here) is that Hasbro — an established toy company — seems to be taking the first steps toward a 3D printer and at a very cheap price point (at least, that’s what we expect; Hasbro is being very close-mouthed about this. )
With the toy extruder being nothing to get excited about on it’s own, the development that might make this thing worthwhile is a new formulation of Play-Doh, different from both regular Play-Doh and last year’s Play-Doh Plus.
According to Hasbro spokesperson Kristina Coppola, the new formulation “will harden overnight into a permanent end creation that can last up to a year. However, when using DohVinci if you do not like what you did – you can simply wipe it away which gives you flexibility and forgivability if you want to make a change.” Hasbro claims that the new formula can be extruded in lines as narrow as 3/32 inch (approximately 2.38 mm)
The change in the formulation of Play-Doh definitely paves the way for more easily extruding this material from a more standard 3D printer. We wouldn’t be surprised to see someone push New-Doh through an 3D printer extruder within a few days of this appearing on the market.