Category Archives: 3d Printers

FallI always find myself so conflicted when summer turns to fall.

I’m happy because so many great things come with autumn.

The first being the simple fact that turkey day is rapidly approaching and this year I have not one, not two but THREE Thanksgivings to go to. I’m going to need a pair of maternity jeans by the end of that weekend.

The second being hockey season. I’m a huge hockey fan and can’t wait for the regular season to start.

On the flip side, I’m sad about the weather getting colder. I’m a huge lover of the outdoors and spend the majority of my summer either outside of tinkering with my 3D printer.

Oh wait, did I forget to mention that I made my dream of owning a 3D printer come true this summer?!? Booyah baby!

What? Did you think I would have ignore my blog all summer because I didn’t feel like writing?!? Of course not, I’ve been building stuff in the third dimension all summer and it’s been awesome.

Another big change for me this summer, not sure if you’ve noticed it by now, is that I’m only using one space after my periods. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and count them… then go back and read my old post with the dreaded TWO spaces after the period. I’ll wait.

Oh good, you’re back. See, I wasn’t lying to you!

I have to say, at first my thumbs were saying “ummmm no way and I only clicking that space bar once when you’re done writing your brilliant sentence. No spacing way!

Strange side note, I only hit the space bar with my right thumb. My left thumb just hangs out and does nothing apparently. Not sure if I’ll even be able to change that buy I’ve got the one space after a period thing worked out to a tee.

So, just so you know, now that it’s fall and the weather is cooling off and the hockey season is about to start I’m probably going to be sitting behind the keyboard a little more writing you brilliant single-spaced-after-period posts about this crazy thing we call life.

Now back to 3D printing an entire set of miniature figurines of my boss to play pranks on people at work.

Photo Credit: hyperboreal

MakerBot Replicator 2

If you read the about page you will know that I’m a tinkerer and an engineer.  Like most engineers I took apart my grandfather’s radio when I was little and (with a little help) was able to put it back together with relative ease.

When I was going to engineering school out lab had a SLA machine that was valued somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars (yes, $250,000).  This thing was amazing.  It would make parts that were so precise and accurate that it make most fabrication shops look like there were being run by a bunch of untrained monkeys.

There were two big problems:

1.  The cost of the machine at $250,000 is a little outside of my snack bracket to get one for my house

2.  The cost to build a part was over $1,000 once you took into account the material, maintenance and “laser time”

These two reasons are why I haven’t started my own rapid prototyping shop out of my basement and, instead, have relied on a friend who does have a pretty sweet 3D printer to build the odd part that I want to test a design for.

Of course I’m talking about one of the first print at home 3D printers that was within the snack bracket of most aspiring engineers and tinkerers of the world.  The MakerBot 2.

The MakerBot Replicator 2 is a 3D printer that allows you to use PLA filament to build plastic parts layer by layer at home.  It’s quick enough to build yourself a custom made case for your iPhone or Android smart phone in under 2o minutes.

Need a few extra shot glasses for your party… give the bot half an hour and you’ll be sipping the finest or Vitamin-T (tequila) from your very own custom shot glasses.

The build platform, which controls the maximum size of your part is 6.1 by 11.2 by 6 inches.  If you want to build a part that is bigger than this you will need to scale it down and build a scale model to represent your final product.

3D Printer Build Area

For most part, especially when you use the scale-it-down approach, this build platform is plenty big.  Making your parts smaller help to keep the build times shorter and the cost to run your machine and the cost of materials at a minimum.

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