I was looking for topics to write about for October. I asked Jase to give me a topic. His suggestion was 3D printers. Of course, he probably came up with that one as we were sitting in the computer room watching the 3D printer at work.
Yes, we have a 3D printer. My husband bought it in July 2014 off of Amazon for about $600. He always likes to stay up on the latest technology so it came as no surprise that he wanted one. I of course didn’t see the need for one, but that is another story.
In the beginning, he printed tons of things what we had no use for – spheres, little figures, and other things to just test out the coolness of the printer. But over time, he has printed more useful things. Here are some photos of items he has printed. You can decide for yourself which is useful and which isn’t.
He has printed items for other people (such as the skull above) as well as creating an Eagle for the silent auction at the kids’ school. It sold for $30.
A 3D printer uses filament, a type of thin plastic, that it melts to produce the 3D object. Ours can only use one color at a time. He typically uses an off white but sometimes also prints in black. So as you look through some of these photos, you will notice that even though it prints in only one color, almost nothing I have shown is one color. We typically paint the items. On the sign above I used nail polish, but acrylic paint, modeling paint or spray paint has been used on the others.
Most of these designs are printed from files found on the Internet. Someone else has created the costume pieces, tools or storage containers. But you can use the software to create your own designs. Jase has designed a rough castle for his sister. We have also used the software to create our own designs including a Happy Birthday sign using Minecraft lettering for Lexie’s birthday cake or to add something to an existing file such as a connector for the skull to the staff in the photo above.
When Jase was in third grade, we actually printed penguins for a project he was working on. We even made a video of how the machine works to show his class. A few months later, the school got their own 3D printer that students and kids can use.
I will say there is the cool factor of being able to print a 3D object. And even I will admit that it has come in handy at times.