Nov 30, 2015 | By Tess

Walt Disney Co. has recently made another foray into the world of 3D printing by teaming up with London based MakieLab to create 3D printed dolls that feature clothing imprinted with classic Disney characters, such as Minnie Mouse and Maleficent.

MakieLab, which is based in the UK but has an office in Los Angeles, is a 3D printed doll company that allows its customers to design and customize what their doll will look like. Using the online Makie Creator, customers can choose what type and color of hair they want for their doll, which eyes, what shape of the face, what style of clothes, etc. Now, because of the Disney collaboration and licensing deal, the dolls can also be clothed in Disney themed outfits.

Once the doll is designed and ordered, MakieLab manufactures the doll’s parts on a large-scale industrial printer using a non-toxic, nylon plastic material, dresses it and ships it to the customer. The company also stresses sustainability, as the 3D printed parts are made in the UK and Amsterdam, where the additive manufacturing processes are state-of-the-art and efficient, and the clothing is all handmade in the MakieLab workshop.

MakieLab was one of two 3D printing companies selected in the second round of the Disney Accelerator program, which provides startup companies with investment capital as well as access to Disney’s creative expertise and other resources.

The other company, Open Bionics, is a 3D printed prosthetics company that was able to, with Disney’s collaboration, develop Disney character themed prosthetic limbs for children. In the Disney Accelerator’s first round of investments, electronic toy company Sphero found enormous success with their popular Star Wars BB-8 droid toy, which we wrote about here.

Disney’s Chief Strategy Officer, Kevin Mayer has said that 3D printing is “a future technology that’s going to be important to us as a company.” And this is certainly becoming apparent based on Disney’s increasing interest and commitment to the ever-growing technology.

Not only have they begun to incorporate 3D printing into their own merchandising, with children being able to have their faces 3D printed onto Star Wars or Iron Man products, but they have also made big strides in the technology’s R&D.

For instance, Disney Research has been developing an interactive design software to facilitate the 3D printing of robotic designs, as well as 3D printed soft skins to create realistic looking robotic toys for children. They have also recently developed an automated process for designing 3D printed connectors that can be used to connect virtually any two items (whether it’s your iPhone to your dashboard, or a mug to your chair).

This recent collaboration between Walt Disney Co. and MakieLab will likely not be the last as the 3D printed doll company also reportedly plans on working with Disney to customize their new Star Darlings merchandise.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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