This week was primarily occupied by creating our first 3D print. We spent the majority of the period scanning our faces, cleaning up the scans, and printing the resulting model. This was our first real experience working with the MakerBots and it wasn’t without a hitch. Leveling the platform, something that should have proved a relatively simple process, turned out to be more difficult for me than anticipated. Despite these minor hiccups, I was able to successfully begin my print by the end of class and be able to pick it up the next day.
The first thing I learnt from this experience with the MakerBot is some of the devices drawbacks. While 3D printing is a wonderful tool, the physical limitations of the device can get in the way of the printing of the object. When printing, the plastic outlining my chin and nose drooped slightly. This shows how in order to accurately print objects with that sharp of oblique angles, the MakerBot would need adequate supports in order to allow the MakerBot to accurately corner and support these objects.
I also learnt a valuable lesson in the beginnings of 3D design. In order to learn best of how to work with a thing, its best to work with something you already know fairly well. And what do people know better than their own face? By working with a familiar object, a person can familiarize themselves with the software they are working in, as well as the limitations of the hardware themselves. This learning experience can help inform on how to better improve objects that someone may not be as comfortable working with, such as an object that may only exist in the designers mind.
Going into the future, I will keep this experience in mind with designing my own objects. The complexity of the model is no impediment to the physical manifestation to the object. However, there are some aspects of design that the printer cannot handle. I think going into the future, I will focus on working from objects that I have experience with objects on Thingiverse that others have designed.
By working with other objects, I can find how I can put my own personal spin on these ideas and make them work for me.