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.