Makies in Make:

The latest issue of Make: has a great profile of my wife, Alice Taylor, and the 3D printed toy-company she founded. They're going great guns, too -- just won one of the top prizes at the SXSW Accelerator!

Makies are manufactured using a 3D printing technology called selective laser sintering (SLS), in which a laser fuses together particles of nylon powder to form the individual parts. The process can produce items with very high fidelity and strength, compared with the more common fused deposition modelling process (FDM), often used in desktop 3D printers, where a filament of plastic is extruded to build up a model in layers.

The downside of this process is price, with SLS machines costing an order of magnitude more than their FDM cousins. Nevertheless, SLS technology could be described as just-about-affordable, and Makies are a perfect application for consumer-quality 3D printing. Digitally designed, and each one unique, Makies are a sign today of a much-talked-about future trend in manufacturing: mass-customisation.

“We set out to make consumer-facing goods using 3D printing. The original vision was: virtual goods would produce physical goods; the physical goods you would be able to modify, and that would feed back into the virtual world. That would create a kind of loop between digital and physical. The only way you can do that is with a digital thing that also lives as a physical thing, connected with an identity. The traditional technology for manufacturing toys makes it hard. 3D printing technology makes it possible.”

So 3D printing makes personalised dolls possible. And personalisation is what makes a Makie special.

MAKE | Alice Taylor: Inventing the Future of Toys [Make/Andrew Sleigh]


  1. Reminds me of the puppet master. Maybe consider sculpting a bit further past that uncanny valley and you might not traumatize children…or stay on the other shore of cuteness…Nice Cory! (Aletas son posted this) 
    Go B9 creator!

  2. There is a consumer level printer that can make solid strong and highly detailed prints. Its called the B9 Creator. Open Source.
    Ohhh…Cool stuff…I agree the looks are still early…I know there are many digital sculptors that could make those faces look even that more appealing. My munny is on a kinect based game that allows gamers to make dolls of themselves as their avatars? seems with kinect and facial scanning this will be happening sooner than later. kinect has potential…and will be met.
    To bridge the uncanny valley will require some actual sculpting I think too…Appeal should never be underrated and hiring artists shouldnt be either.
    (Aletas son also posted this)

  3. Jesus God, these things are horrifying to look at. Were it not for the maker-y factor here I can readily imagine this being posted on Boing Boing as an object of repulsion.

    1. I don’t think it’s the Maker angle that gets these things posted here. Also not sure if they are awfully terrifying or terrifyingly awful. *Insert Fry squint*

    2. May I first complement you on your photo, which seems appropriate to your comment. I love the way that every time these dolls get a shoutout here, the “kill it with fire” comments vastly outnumber anything else.

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