Wasting Time Or Making Memories?

This is a little deviation from my normal posts. I just wanted to share a little bit of what my oldest son and I have been up to for the past few days. For a Christmas present, I bought him a 3D printer. He’s 14 now and I thought it would be a fun thing that he and I could do together. It took a little while to get it set up correctly, but now we’re having fun. Well, we’re basically just making toys, so of course we’re having fun.  🙂

The printer I bought for him is rather small. It’s just a tabletop model used when just getting into the hobby. It was relatively inexpensive (as far as 3D printers go) but still a major purchase as a Christmas gift. I read a lot of good things about it and watched a lot of videos before purchasing. This is what it looks like (with my son’s fingerprints all over it):

The first day, all we could figure out was how to print the sample that came with it on the the memory card. It was a little cat finger puppet, maybe and inch and a half tall, with some Asian writing on it. Not sure exactly what it says on it, but here it is:

It’s cute and all, but we wanted to print out things of our choosing. We set it up based on videos and a website dedicated to this particular model which has a lot of users out in the world. We tried to follow their instructions. We had no luck. The slicer program we were using wouldn’t recognize this printer and nothing was working. It was rather frustrating. My son got discouraged and printed out three more cats just to print something. I did a bit of research and came across a video that walked us through how to set up this printer correctly. Not being a computer nerd tech savvy myself, I was most appreciative that someone else had done the work ahead of time. I would have had no clue how to do all of the computer work needed. Now we’re having lots of fun and bonding over something silly, like printing out characters from our favorite cartoon, Futurama. Here are a few of our finished prints after some trimming and sanding:
This was supposed to be a vase, but it printed out as a solid piece. I suppose I could drill a hole in it.
This is the Hypnotoad, a character from Futurama
This is Dr. Zoidberg, also from Futurama
Philip J. Fry from Futurama
This is a character from Futurama called Scruffy. This is before trimming. You can see all of the supports that were printed to keep the overhanging parts from sagging during the printing process. I took the middle piece off so you can see some of the body underneath.
And finally, how can you own a 3D printer and not print out baby Yoda?

Overall, I am satisfied with this purchase. My son absolutely loves it and he’s mentioned several times how much he enjoys doing this type of project with me. That makes it all worth it. Well, that and all of the other toys I get to make. We’ll see how much fun he thinks it is when it comes time to paint all of these things and give them a clear coat. I have a feeling that the finishing work will fall on me. That’s okay though. I actually enjoy it.

19 thoughts on “Wasting Time Or Making Memories?

  1. Wow! What a wonderful, fun gift Ben. Well done. I assume that creations are only limited by endless sky, huh? Well, and the 3-D printer’s capabilities. Lol 😉 However, just between you and me (and your readers here) I’m going to add a disturbing twist to this wonderful holiday sentiment you’ve posted. Sincere apologies Sir. My comment is only meant to briefly make light of humanity’s darker side, mostly of men’s worst traits: violence. So if I may, I’ll try to be quick about it. You are welcome to delete this if you choose. I’d totally understand.

    I am not too familiar with modern 3-D printers. I don’t think that will change anytime soon. Unfortunately, I have an apriori phobia about them here in Texas. As you might guess Ben, most red-neck kuntry folk here LOVE their arsenals of weapons. Some of them have near warehouses of armaments of all types. But recently over the last few years our country has been in a MAJOR quagmire about home-owned 3-D printers being used for less noble purposes under the guise of “freedom and liberty” for all Americans—2nd Amendment battles and controversies—because mankind (vs. woman-kind) seems to have a deeply embedded desire for rage and violence while also under the guise of rights to ‘self-protection, family, property,’ and/or ‘civil defense.’ Now Conservative gun-advocates intentionally take advantage of 18th-century Constitutional verbiage to promote their Wild Wild West “defense.” Case and point: Cody R. Wilson. Look him up if you’d like.

    Metal-milling in combination with 3-D printers are currently capable of this:

    But UNTIL an individual American commits an actual heinous crime via these 3-D printers and milling machines, pro-gun advocates will fight to the death (a metaphor in poor taste) to make sure that “liberals” will NOT take away their 2nd Amendment rights for 3-D printers and milling machines. I have no clue what the solution is to this and Americans like Cody Wilson. 😬😞

    That’s all Ben. My sincere apologies for placing a DARK SIDE to your wonderful Father/Son gift. But important info like this should be disseminated, yes? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No need to apologize. No offense was taken on my part. It wasn’t what this post was about, though I suppose there is a connection that could be made, but my comment section is always open for discussion. It is a topic worth talking about as there is a seemingly unlimited supply of gun crazy people in our country. As long as there are laws on the books trying to regulate and restrict the use of firearms, there will be people trying to circumvent those laws. I’m not an expert on anything related to this topic however. I’m just a casual observer. I can barely operate a novelty-sized printer. Using a machine to create and assemble gun parts to get around gun laws is something for someone who has way too much time on their hands…and way too many unhealthy thoughts in their heads.

      Though this was not on my mind when I wrote this post, it is an interesting topic. It reminds me of a movie from the early nineties. “In the Line of Fire” with Clint Eastwood and John Malkovich. John Malkovich’s character made a gun out of plastic to try to assassinate the president. It seems a bit ahead of its time, looking back, but it just goes to show that these thoughts have been around for quite a while. I’m not really sure what the solution is to stop these things from happening.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah, yes. Good comparison Ben. Anyway, thanks for your understanding. Again, you are more than welcome to delete it if you feel it detracts too much from your post. Perhaps I should’ve simply said “I have an aversion to 3-D printers and milling machines” and left it at that. Then hope no one presses me for an explanation. Lol 😛

        Nonetheless, there are those who do not know anything about the darkside of those machines so perhaps it isn’t all a waste. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. But then now that I think further about it… the same could be argued for the booming sales of alcohol in our country, huh? Look what the 1920’s Prohibition did; just drive up sales, crime, and Speak-Easys all across America! I guess our freedoms and liberties are to be cherished responsibly, not abused. Yet enforcing that individual trait is near impossible to do isn’t it? 🤔

        Liked by 2 people

      3. I suppose, though I personally have never felt the need to own a firearm. I own a few air rifles and pellet guns for target shooting. It’s fun and challenging. My son and I have enjoyed some father-son time with those as well. Plus, if a stray BB or pellet hits someone, it’s rarely fatal…unlike the firearms people are manufacturing in their own homes. I’d say “to each his own” but there has to be a limit when it comes to owning lethal weapons. There is no need, in my opinion, to own guns made for war outside of a war setting. Home protection and hunting are not good excuses to arm yourself to the teeth. But what do I know?

        Liked by 2 people

      4. HAH! Actually you know a LOT Ben! 😉 You are a wise American citizen who understands moderation, responsibility, has solid principles, discerning, and a ton of hair on your head!!! 😛 🤭

        Seriously though, I got my son the Daisy Classic 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun one Xmas when he was 11-12 yrs old to use and enjoy (with my supervision) at my Mom’s place—way out in the country in Kerrville—but also to teach him thorough gun safety and extreme respect (fear?) of any weapons. While he and I were shooting at targets and had made different types of targets. One type was nailed to a Live Oak tree. As I was demonstrating various safety measures I shot at the target from about 15-20 yards. The 2nd BB shot hit the tree and bounced right back at me and HIT ME in my safety glasses! 😮 Talk about demonstrating WHY you should wear safety glasses when firing a weapon! Geezzz, I could’ve made a bigger fool of myself, huh? 😄

        Liked by 2 people

      5. My post conveys my thoughts I had when I wrote it. The comment section is always open for other thoughts. That’s one of the great things about WordPress. One thought can open up a discussion for others some may not have thought about. I don’t find it to be a distraction. My comment section is always open for the free expression of ideas. My post was where I shared my own. The comments, as long as they aren’t egregiously offensive, can be about anything. I don’t get upset too easily these days. Besides, your comment was related to what I wrote about, so I have no issues with it. Share away 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  2. It’s not a waste of time, it can be quite fun once you get everything calibrated properly. My kids (11 and 13) love to do 3-D printing with their dad. They’ve printed a salamander with movable parts, a pill case, a charging stand, pokemon, and a host of other really cool things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t really serious about wasting time. I know it is time well spent, even though there are a lot of other “important” things I could be doing. Spending time doing anything with my kids is always worth it. I wonder how long this will be “cool” for my son and when it’ll turn into “no one does that anymore, Dad.” I suppose that even if he loses interest, I’ll can still play with it. I mean, I’ve got three children much younger than him (1, 3 and 5) so I can always make new toys for them.

      We haven’t tried printing anything with moving parts yet. I’ve seen a lot of cool models of things like that. It’s all about patience though, which my teenager doesn’t have much of. Those things take multiple prints which take lots of time. We’ll see. Right now, I’m doing most of the finishing work like trimming and sanding. When it comes time, I’ll probably do all of the painting too. Not because I want to, but because “you’re so much better at this than me, Dad.” Hmm, seems like someone trying to fool me in order for them to be lazy. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, maybe. Or I could just keep doing it all since I enjoy it anyway. Maybe he’ll get tired of seeing me have all the fun and step in to take over. Not likely but that’s okay. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ben, it’s awesome that you’re doing this with your son. They grow up so fast. Make the most of every minute. Of course, then the grandkids come along, even more fun. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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