Let’s be honest, there’s no other “innovation” buzzword that quite describes DIY like 3D printing. It’s a cool concept. Anything you want you could print yourself. You could even print yourself – well, the miniature version of yourself. Do you need a bowl? Go print it. What about a phone holder? You can print that too. A toy Pikachu? Easy. Decorative cacti? Defs. Of course, you wouldn’t really want to eat out of the printed bowl, since it was at one point melted plastic oozing from a metal nozzle that quite possibly contains impurities. But the point here is the versatility and capacity of fabricating ornamental, though perhaps useless, mantelpiece-worthy objects (granted it fits in the printer’s build volume). In other words, you might never have to buy birthday presents again.
There’s something hypnotic and/or therapeutic watching a 3D printer at work. It’s like watching the percentage change during ‘Windows is Configuring’, or the incremental wait-bar showing a program installing, or even the lawnmower man at work in the Quadrangle early in the morning. 3D printers are slow and mesmerising, and they can sound like polite aliens or scheming robots, but the end product is oh so amazing. Most of the time the result will be wonderful, except for when it’s not, in which case you’ll be left with a wrangled mess or another plastic coaster. At least it’s recyclable.[A whole paragraph was written here to describe how a 3D printer worked, but it was considered too long- winded to include. Short story, melted plastic layers are printed vertically upon solidified plastic layers. Here’s some I prepared earlier:]
Want to 3D Print It Yourself? You can! You can actually use the printers at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre on campus for FREE once you get signed off for an orientation session and the 3D printing workshop. And you don’t even need to know how to use a computer modelling software, or ‘CAD’ as the technically savvy would call it because there are tens of thousands of models free to download. (But if you do know how to CAD, even better! “Cadding” can be great fun.) So, if this sounds like something you’re interested in, rock up to the MCIC, and print it yourself!