MakerBot stole my idea. And I’m thrilled.

The folks at MakerBot announced three new machines at CES 2014.  I will be posting about their value and use in the classroom shortly.  But I couldn’t wait to pat myself on the back.

They stole one of my ideas.  And I couldn’t be happier. Continue reading


Alternatives to the “3d printed gun” thread

3d printed guns are in the news again.  It goes like this:

“Hey I heard you have a 3d printer.  Have you printed a gun yet?” Yawn.

So I offer you these cool stories to turn the conversation back to 3d printing greatness.  Then you can say, “Yeah the 3d printed gun is something but have you heard about…” Continue reading

Week 3 with the Makerbot Replicator

So heres what I have learned in the last weeks. The three weeks since the Makerbot arrived in my high school tech classroom.

  • students will cut class to watch the makerbot print
  • students previously not interested in computer graphics will learn on their own time just to create a design to print
  • some folks view it as magic
  • some view it as a toy maker…or just a toy
  • 3d printing makes the object worth little and transfers the value to the design. My four year old already gets this.
  • And now on to the practical and technical:

  • there is a lot to learn and you must be ready to tinker and fiddle.
  • don’t buy one if you aren’t a patient soul. The tech isn’t there. Yet.
  • set the hbp to 109 degrees for larger objects.
  • rafts work but aren’t always needed for smaller objects.
  • as stated my many makerbot vets: a feedrate of around 30 is a sweet spot between speed and resolution
  • 20120528-203204.jpg

    Try try again

    Even though there is a vibrant online community of makerbot-ers there is still a trial and error factor. See below:

    20120517-180021.jpgI set this simple zipper-pull up with no raft (the blue one) and it slid all over the hbp about halfway through the print. Cancelled and saved some plastic. Add the raft and print again.  The second print (white) came out better but the T is still funky with excess threads.

    Does the object matter anymore?

    This past weekend I carted around several samples from the Makerbot and showed them I anyone who would listen. The prized first print, the spiral box, was part of my demo. Folks marveled at the shape and apparent strength.

    makerbotAt one point I thought that I has lost the spiral box. I asked my 4 year old if he had seen it and he replied,”it doesn’t matter. You can always print another one.”. His remark revealed one more unique facet of 3d printing; the object no longer matters since it can easily be reprinted. He had no sentimental feelings to the box whatsoever.

    There is a bit of a danger here as well. The “just print one more” philosophy could also contribute to an already massive plastic waste problem. That aside, does his view represent that of the future? If it can easily be replicated then what role does ownership of the object play? Is the design more important and therefore what people will actually care for and curate?

    I did find the spiral box and plan on displaying it in a place of honor in my classroom.  Even thought it could be replicated this box will always represent the wonder that was expressed by that group of students who witnessed and ran our first Makerbot print.