Sesame Street talks to MakerBot, gets 3D printers making toys at home

A partnership between one of the most loved children’s shows and one of the more popular 3D printers looks to be one of the first examples of licensed toy making at home.

So many people grew up with Sesame Street, it’s hard to find someone these days who wasn’t connected with one of the characters.

Whether it was Oscar the Grouch, Grover and his SuperGrover counterpart, Cookie Monster, The Count, Bert and Ernie, Big Bird, or Elmo, chances are if you were born after 1970 and had a TV nearby, you’ve grown up with the educational interpretation of Jim Henson’s Muppets, also known as Sesame Street.

And if you did, you’ve probably had some toys of your favourite characters here and there over the years, but ask anyone in the tech industry about toys and they’ll tell you that this area is changing.

With 3D printers becoming something any family can buy, this new form of manufacturing is set to change how toys — among other things — are made and distributed.

Proving what’s possible, Sesame Street has teamed up with MakerBot to make a version of Snuffleupagus, the friendly woolly mammoth that’s best friends with Big Bird.

Called “Mr. Snuffleupagus,” this model is a 3D printable model that’s less a toy and more a decoration, but it’s still a great idea showing what can be done when companies come together.

The model is available for under two dollars, but does require a MakerBot printer, specifically either the Replicator or Replicator 2 printers, neither of which are easily found in Australia and will cost at least $2000 locally. Still, the idea is a solid one, and shows just what’s possible when companies come together to help forge a new generation of manufacturing concepts.

“We are really proud to launch our first branded and licensed 3D printed products for the MakerBot Digital Store and MakerBot Retail Stores with Sesame Street,” said MakerBot’s CEO Bre Pettis.

“Sesame Street has always been near and dear to my heart. I used to work for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, and I grew up watching Sesame Street. Having the ability to 3D print a beloved character – or soon, an entire set of cherished characters — will be really fun and educational. 3D printing is like having an engineering education in a box, but with Sesame Street, it has a playful and familiar twist.”

Now we just need some other companies to do it, too.

How about it, Disney? Dreamworks? Anyone?