3D printing is pretty common at the Digital Whimsy Lab. I’ve always wanted to have one at home if for no other reason than to just mess around. I found the Jakks Pacific 3D Character Creator at Target for $11.99 (down from ~$40) and thought it would be fun. The product is a hot wax mold injector that works with a plastic skeleton system. You place the skeleton pieces in the mold, place the mold on the melter and then inject the hot wax into the mold. After it cools, you pop it open and have a tiny action figure.
We had a few problems. First, the device is pre-loaded with a wax stick that doesn’t inject unless you place another one inside. Next, it takes about 10 minutes to heat up and 20 minutes to cool down. That means each figure takes about 30 minutes to make. I’m not sure if you’ve hung out with a 4 and 7 year old, but, 60 minutes for two figures is too long. Second, it never made the other figure. Something got jammed up and it just didn’t work.
I like the idea of a wax mold toy for kids. I think it scratches the creative maker itch without the expense and problems of a real 3D printer. Based on the price, I’m guessing this product is being phased out, but, I do look forward to what could be next in this market.