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.

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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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