I gots me a 3D printer!!

My apartment in Downtown Austin has officially become a manufacturing facility!!

I got my new MakerBot Replicator 3D printer and setup it up this week.  Here it is sitting on my kitchen counter:
photo 2

After setting it up and handling a few minor technical issues, I tried firing it up and printing something that was on the included SD card.  First thing I printed was this stretchy bracelet.  Here it is layer-by-layer being printed out in PLA plastic:
photo 3

Finished product.  Took a little less than 15 minutes to fully print:
photo 4

Take it off the built plate and it’s ready to wear!  That’s what I liked about the MakerBot Replicator2….it doesn’t have any messy cleanup process (a lot of 3D printers use powder or plastic-resin to make stuff which has to be cleaned off).  It’s super sturdy and can be stretched:
photo 5
Like I previously wrote, I wanted to print something that couldn’t be made through most manufacturing processes, so I printed a 3D shot glass!  It’s got this internal structure that’s useless, but makes the shot glass look cool and “3D printed”.

Here it is halfway printed:
photo 1 copy 2

Finished product:
photo 2 copy 2

Ready to drink!
photo 3 copy 2

I was shocked by how sturdy the shot glass came out.  The settings were on super high quality, so it took 1 1/2 hours to print, but the build was extraordinarily strong.  I doubt you could even smash that thing with a hammer (I tried and failed).  Very impressive strength.

Next thing I printed was this cool looking candle cover.  Here it is fresh out of the printer:
photo 1 copy

Stick a tea-candle in the middle and it gives off this cool effect……and I manufactured this thing in my APARTMENT!!
photo 4 copy  photo 3 copy       


The next step was to see how long some real “manufacturing” would take.  So before running out of the house for a few hours, I quickly added some random items to a file and hit ‘print’.

I put 5 3D shot glasses, and 1 stretchy bracelet, hit ‘print’ and ran out of the house.  Here was the very beginning phases of the print:
photo 1

After a few hours (I left the settings on super-high…..so the print took longer than it should have):
photo 2

Almost finished:
photo 3

8 hours after hitting ‘print’ these were waiting for me at home:
photo 4 


Overall I’m super impressed with this thing.  I mean, the technology still sucks right now compared to what it’ll be in the future (being able to print circuits and whatnot), but this is an awesome learning experience.

I quickly learned to use the MakerWare software for loading objects to print…it’s super-simple.

Now I’m going to start learning some 3D modeling using Blender.  That will be a tad bit harder, but more rewarding since I’ll be able to make my OWN things and print/share them.

So far this has been fun :)

-Neville Medhora

photo 5

Blog posted on: October 2, 2013

24 comments on “I gots me a 3D printer!!

    1. Neville Post author

      Yea, that thing is surprisingly cool.

      Still learning to tweak the settings so little “plastic hairs” don’t cover all the holes, but I learned if you give the structure a quick blast of flame from a lighter, it incinerates all of them :)

  1. Ben

    That’s pretty sweet. I read somewhere recently that the future for these things is that you’ll be able to buy something on Amazon and instead of them shipping it to you all you have to do is print it out on the 3d printer. Looks like a fun toy.

    1. Neville Post author

      The technology will get better and better with time. Can’t even imagine the possibilities. Already on Thingiverse people are posting open-source medical devices and stuff.

      The future is exciting for this :)

  2. Allen

    Blender is sort of the defacto standard for open source, but if you want something faster to pick up take a look at sketchup. It’s super easy to make basic stuff. You’ll have some overhead to get the models formatted into a file that you can print (plugins), but the modeling itself is much easier.

    Google used to own it so there are free versions floating around.

      1. Nate Johnson

        +1 for Google Sketchup. Blender is really intended to model out super fancy things for the movie and gaming industries. Sketchup really shines when comparing to other “more professional” 3d modeling software that comes with a massive learning curve.

  3. Brent

    Neville, awesome stuff! I’ve been holding out buying one for years now as I was used to a $300,000 SLA machine at a medical device company that I used to work for. The quality just isn’t quite the same.

    That being said, 3D printers have come A LONG way in the past couple of years and I’ve got a 3D design itch I’m needing to scratch! Plus, what fun is a 3D model that you can’t print out?!?

    I plan on buying The Form 1 3D printer within the next 12 months as it’s a mini-SLA.

    I’ll be sure to print out a NevBox finger puppet as my first print.

    1. Neville Post author

      Oh yea……when you’re talking about machines at that level the MakerBot won’t compare at all (I’m jealous you got to use that)!

      I’m apprehensive about buying anything that uses resin because of all the hassle and mess (I live in an apartment and don’t want all that other crap laying around).

      Plus I’m just making stuff for fun. Can’t wait to see how good these things get in 10 years!

      1. Brent

        Thanks for the reply. I’m a little worried about the hassle and mess of the resin too. I’d like to get to play with one of these the Form 1 mini-SLA machine before buying one to see how much trouble it is.

        I used to design medical devices using Pro|Engineer and had access to that beast of a rapid prototyping machine. It was awesome.

        Although I’ve moved on to greener pastures I do miss 3D modeling and prototyping and producing parts.

        At $3.3k these aren’t cheap but it’s still cheaper than a lot of hobbies and who knows, maybe one of us will design the next snazzy iPhone something-or-other and sell millions of them… muuuuuhhhh-ha-ha-ha-ha (evil laugh).

  4. Dividendium

    I’m not generally into “things”, but this is pretty cool.

    That shot glass HAS to have an application. It looks too cool not to. What if it had much smaller holes on the inner part? Could be used for brewing loose leaf tea by the cup?

  5. Eric Moeller

    Hi Neville,

    Just curious, is the 3D printing exclusively a hobby/interest, or do you have ideas already on potential business applications you could use it for?

    I enjoy reading your blog, thanks!


  6. Chris

    And when you think that few years ago we were still chasing wild goats on the prairies….
    Things have evolved quite nice and feels really good to live in these present days because technology is becoming more and more accessible all over the place.


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