Monkey with a Box Cutter: So I got a 3D printer…

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I a strange thing happened a few weeks ago — a 3D Printer landed in my lap. Let me explain.

For several years, like a lot of people, I’ve followed this new fangled 3D home printer tech with fascination. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to get involved with as a hobby. The buy-in however put me off. Just a bit too high to justify for what I considered a ‘toy’. As a home owner and someone with a lot of interests there are just too many things I can think of I could spend my money on first. So I’ve considered to read developments and wait for prices to come down while sitting on the fence.

So a few weeks ago someone posted a pic of a 3D Gazebo miniature on my wall on Facebook. Okay, not just one person, several people. This little guy here.



Now, I’ve seen this figure before. It’s been floating around the internet for months but on this occasion someone asked, “So Jolly, when are you going to get a 3D printer?” I basically relayed my sentiments above and commented I was on the fence until the right printer for the right price came along.  Fifteen minutes later there was a message in my inbox. A very nice gentleman by the name of Greg explained that he has purchased a $500 HicTop Prusa I3 printer in December. One of those DIY kits that you have to assemble.  His circumstances had since changed and he was looking to find it a good home. $200 bucks and it was mine. After checking reviews (It’s listed on several top 10 printer lists) I pay paled Greg the money and the very next day it arrived.

It took six to seven hours one evening to assemble while listening to tunes. Another week to get a response from the Chinese manufacturer as to why it wouldn’t work (turned out it was corrupt firmware) and a week and some days corresponding with Tom Tullis of Fat Dragon games to successfully print my first piece. (Thanks Tom!).

I named this entry, “Monkey with a box cutter” because that’s exactly how I felt starting out on this journey. The realization that I knew nothing about his new tech and the feeling I was in over my head. There was actually a point I considered boxing it up and reselling it. As I told a friend, “My life is pretty stress free, other than the constant loom of deadlines. I feel like I bought a box full of headaches.”

Tom Tullis was encouraging however. He assured me once I ironed out the wrinkles, I was going to “love it”.

“It’s the FUTURE!!!” he told me in one instant message.

Well, now that things are running smoothly (over a dozen flawless prints under my belt) I have to admit — this is damn fun.

Not only have I printed out various table top terrain items but I’ve printed put out handy attachments for my Dremel tools, a Uhura ear piece, two apple ear bud cases, a paint brush caddy…

What I love most about this thing is it takes several hours to print something. My favorite thing to do at the end of a work day when pushing away from my desk is to drop a file to the 3D printer. Then come back the next morning and find magic waiting for me.  There’s a feeling you’re part of a revolution. Something new and BIG. I’m sure ham radio operators, and garage computer builders in the 70’s felt the same way.

I’ve compared it to the feeling I hand in 1982 when I brought my first Commodore 64 home and began programming it to ‘do things’. It was life changing. I immediately knew, I would never live without having a computer in my house. I sort of feel that way about 3D printers.


Anyway, I’m going to be talking a lot about 3D printing and what I’m doing with my printer going forward (as well as my other projects). Be aware I’m a total noob. This will be a journey of discovery for me as I explore what works and what doesn’t work.

Meanwhile here are a few things I’m printed so far.


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And here are a few things I actually designed and printed out.


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