This is just a brief update to confirm that the $499 3D printer I recently purchased from the folks at Solidoodle.com has arrived and is sitting safe and sound in the Pleasure Dome (my office).
As you may recall from my earlier blogs -- I Want a 3D Printer & I Want It Now and What's the Best 3D S/W for My 3D Printer? -- this little beauty is capable of printing out parts up to 6x6x6" in size while achieving resolutions of 0.1 mm in the X, Y, and Z axes.
One of the things people keep on asking me is: "But what are you going to print with it?" Well, all sorts of things keep on popping into my mind.
Just yesterday, for example, I pledged to a nano-hexacopter project on Kickstarter that uses an Arduino-compatible controller board. (See: It's Crunch Time for Me to Learn the Arduino.) One of the things that caught my eye in the video accompanying this Kickstarter entry was the fact that the folks who are creating these copters like to play around creating different airframes using a 3D printer. I think you can guess what popped into my mind when I saw this.
Anyway, the following pictures reflect where we're at thus far. First of all, someone came into my office carrying a smallish box from Solidoodle. "Hmmm," I thought to myself, "that doesn’t look right -- my 3D printer is supposed to arrive pre-assembled, but this box is only half the size it should be." Happily, when I opened the corrugated cardboard container, I discovered the three spools of ABS filament I’d ordered:
So, of course, my next thought was "Where is my 3D printer?" No sooner had this flitted through my noggin when someone else popped his head 'round the corner saying, "Do you know that there's a box with your name on it sitting at the bottom of the stairs?"
Well, there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garb at that point, let me tell you, because I had indeed noticed the box sitting there for a couple of days... It just hadn’t struck me that this box was for me, because it had been left where the delivery guy usually deposits the office supplies. So I raced down the stairs, grabbed my little beauty, carried it back to my bay, and gleefully commenced the unpacking process:
It wasn't long before I had an interesting collection of parts, including the printer itself, a power supply, a USB cable for downloading files from my computer, a small quantity of red ABS filament for use in a test print, an Allen (hex) key, and a thought-provoking collection of polyurethane pipe bits-and-pieces (there was also an instruction book, which isn’t shown in this image):
Around the back of the beast we find the controller board. Generally speaking, I'm happy to say that everything on this unit appears to be very solid and well-made:
Upon reading the instructions ("if all else fails...") I discovered that the purpose of the polyurethane pipes is to create a holder for a roll of ABS filament. Putting this together took no more than a few seconds for a man of my caliber:
Finally, the image below shows the unit accompanied by a roll of ABS filament. My next step will be to download the print software from the Solidoodle website and perform a test print with the file they provide.
After that, it's "onwards and upwards" to installing the SketchUp Make 3D design software package and starting to create my own 3D parts. I have to say this is all very exciting. Watch this space...