I think the first time I saw 3D printers (or rather prototypes of them) must have been close to 15 years ago when I worked at Ars Electronica Futurelab. Since that time I had always considered them as an interesting curiosity. I followed their development and entrance into consumer space with mild interest but still wasn’t all convinced that those things could have practical use to me.
My view on 3D printing started to changed when I entered the maker game 2-3 years ago. When making stuff (especially when tinkering with electronics) I was permanently looking for casings, braces, spacers and stuff like that. Or sometimes the soldering and wiring was done and I need a nice little box or case for the project to put up. These things were always hard to find and often the most difficult part of the project. That’s when it suddenly dawned on me: That’s what 3D printers are for and I totally need one!
Every self-respecting maker should own a 3D printer!
I got myself a Dremel 3D Idea Builder and I absolutely love it! The print quality is fantastic, the price is moderate and I have so far only just botched a single print.
One could argue that I am infected with the 3D printing virus now. I am constantly printing something. I am literally printing something while writing this blog post. It’s just an amazing hobby to have. Watching things being created inside this “box” is somehow close to magic and still leaves me in aw.
Here are some of the things I have printed so far:
I know, its’ not really useful and your typical “3D printed piece of plastic crap”, but hey: this was my first print and my son, who is big into dinosaurs, liked it a lot.
Infrared Motion Detector Case
This is already a good and practical application of a 3D printer. These infrared motion detectors are available for cheap and I have a couple of them. Only, they do not come in nice casings: it’s just a plastic bulb on a circuit board. Well, not a problem any more.
Admittedly this sounds more serious than it is, but here’s the story: Recently I visited a Mini Maker Faire in Steyr and learned about Toothbrush Robots. This is a really cool project introducing kids to technology and electronics. And one of its core components is a 3D printed battery and motor case.
This is a fun one: You can now have cookies in all forms and shapes.
This is a nice little Halloween decoration object. Put an LED candle in it and it looks really spooky.
Astro Pi Case
The Astro Pi is an awesome project where a Raspberry Pi with a special add-on sensor board was sent to the international space station to perform various experiments. This 3D printed case is a simplified version of the project housing my RaspberryPi3 and its Sense Hat.
Most of the prints shown above are from a website called thingiverse.com. This site is pure gold! I could spend hours and hours on it just looking at stuff other people built and adding it to my list of “things that I am gonna print some day”.
On my Thingiverse profile you can find the links to some of the prints above.