As you all know, this week we all took part in the Build A Printer Event in the Bif Atrium. Going into it, I didn’t really have any expectations for the event. I wasn’t excited nor was I really dreading it, I was kinda just “meh” about the whole thing. I’ve put some things together in the past, ranging from simple IKEA furniture to a whole Dark Matter experiment at Fermilab, but a lot of those endeavors were solo operations, I have never built something with a group of people, let alone a class of 30. But honestly, I really enjoyed the event.I worked on putting together the extruder with a couple people for a majority of the event, and once we had finished that we moved on to helping with the Z-stage. There was one point where two of us were hammering away at pieces on the floor to try and make as little noise as possible so that we didn’t distract people studying in the atrium. It must have been a funny sight.
We got hung up at a certain point, as we couldn’t find a little wooden piece that we needed. There were supposed to be 4 of these tiny wooden spacers and we could only find 3. So in the spirit of #digitalmaking, we decided to run upstairs to the makerlab and 3D print our piece! I quickly modeled the piece in Fusion 360 from measurements of the other 3 blocks, and we did a quick 3 minute print of the piece! Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in the build that I neglected to take pictures, but the piece came out great and should work perfectly in place of the missing piece.
The build ran a little long, so a couple of us stayed after to finish up individual sections before packing away the rest of the pieces to be put together later. All in all, it was a great event, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, not to mention got a sweet maker t-shirt out of it. I would definitely say that in addition to the build process, I learned a lot about how the extruder mechanism and FDM printing as a whole work. I Hope someday that I am lucky enough to be able to afford one of these kits for myself, I would love to have 3D printing continue as a hobby after I graduate this may.