Real men do play with (3D printed) dolls


Doll collecting is an amazingly popular hobby around the world, and it’s an expensive hobby — buying a one-of-a kind doll can cost you thousands of dollars.

But now there is a way to have a unique doll for considerably less money, and you can design it yourself. An innovative, small company in Britain named MakieLab will let you get online and design your own “action doll.” Why do we care about dollmaking here at Because your design’s body will be created with a 3D printer!

The doll is called a Makie. And this more than a rigid, boring doll. The 10″ Makies are — in MakieLab’s own words — gosh-darn poseable. You can even pull off and push back on the limbs, hands and feet, so they are easy to dress.

You choose what the face will look like, by customizing the eyes, nose, jaw, smile, hair, hands, feet and clothes.

Here’s what the company has to say about how they are made:

We’re using 3D printing techniques to make the action doll, each one unique to its owner. Imagine a printer: now imagine it uses powdered plastic instead of ink on paper. Now imagine that a fine laser melts the finely powdered plastic into a shape: that’s the type of 3D printing we’re using. It means that those tiny, delicate changes that you make to the face shape are reproducible exactly, and it also means that the surface is matte, and slightly porous, a bit like unfired porcelain.

And how they feel:

Like unglazed porcelain, kind of. Sometimes a MAKIE can feel quite fragile or precious, and early testers have likened it to porcelain, maybe because the only toys that have a bit more weight to them are porcelain. But MAKIES are actually as tough as (plastic) boots.

You techies out there who thought you’d never be caught dead playing with dolls, better take note: The inside of a Makie is designed to accommodate a “a Lilypad Arduino or similar, so if you want to you can try your hand at fitting LEDs, RFIDs and battery packs, voicechips, Bluetooth and Arduino.” Since their eyes are movable, you can even open up the head, unclick the eye piece, shove some wires in there and have at it.

Maybe real men do play with dolls, after all.


Thanks for the Heads by Chris Barnatt at

  • Pete Reynolds

    They had a demo of these in London last month, I was so gutted I couldn’t apply as I was busy.