Lucky Cat on Coaster - 3D Printing

3D Printing Journey

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Crafting can take many different forms. One can quilt a blanket, carve a design into a wood block, knit a sweater, or crochet a scarf just to name a few.

As we look ahead in the future, new types of crafting will emerge. 3D printing is making the leap from more of a manufacturing and engineering skill to a crafting one with the advent of consumer grade 3D printers. Just like other forms of crafting, we are taking materials and using it to produce something new. This time, with the aid of computers and a machine.

My 3D Printing Journey

My background in 3D printing is a bit of a long one. At first, it was one of an observer. This is how most people start with most things, exposure in general. At a smaller and near term scale, my Brother in Law has a 3D printer and during family gatherings, he would always have something new he made to show us. Sometimes it is a basic toy, but times, something a bit more complicated.

For example, one year, he put a Christmas gift, which was also 3D printed, in a 3D Printed locking puzzle, which my wife had to solve prior to retrieving her gift. It was complicated enough that he it took him hours to figure out how to lock it. At least he figured to put the gift in it first before locking since he wasn’t able to unlock it.

In a larger scale, I’ve been around some kind of materials fabrication for a good chunk of my life. I am from the Midwest where manufacturing is a way of life. Each day while going to middle school and high school, I passed a General Motors Metal Fabrication plan. During my high school years, I got to go into one of the buildings as part of my high schools robotics team. Our team was based in one of the out buildings of the plant. While we used off the shelf parts during our build, from time to time, we would be able to see what our mentors did day to day. We got to see the industrial CNC machines making both custom parts and ones that were off the shelf. It’s always incredible how you can take a raw material and turn it into a something so much more.

How Did I get Into 3D Printing

So I got into 3D printing on a bit of a whim. While I’ve been around it in some form or fashion for quite a while, I wasn’t seriously looking to get into 3D printing. I was walking through the newly built MicroCenter that had some great grand opening sales going on and the 3D printing section caught my eye. I had been interested in 3D printing, but cost and space always got in the way. 3D printing is not cheap folks. Beginner level printers can be $100 to $200 if you can catch them on a sale, but decent ones are a bit more.

With these grand opening sales, I was able to snag a Creality Ender 3 S1 for about $150. While that’s not cheap, it’s still a lot better than MSRP. It was low enough to purchase on a whim and see what I could do with it.

The second obstacle was space. These things are fairly large and need a dedicated space. This isn’t something you can stick on a pile of boxes and hope it doesn’t fall down. It needs to be placed on a sturdy table that can handle the movement of all of the parts. You also need to keep it clear and clean of them moving parts, that way it doesn’t hit a snag while it is moving. Important if you don’t want your 3D printer hitting things.

Join Me for a Journey through 3D Printing

I welcome you to join me in my 3D printing journey. It’s an interesting one. I hope that the experiences that I am sharing with either help you with 3D printing or give you more insight into what 3D printing is and how to get involved.