Yee-ha! I’ve just received an e-mail from the amazingly efficient Karen at MakerGear, saying that the Mendel Prusa kit I ordered from them just over 3 weeks ago is in the mail. It has to travel half-way round the world, but with the tracking number Karen gave me, its fun watching the parcel move from mail centre to mail centre. It’s made it through Cleveland, and through Chicago. I wonder how it’ll get to Australia?
Since this is my first post on this, my 3D printing blog, I guess I’ll waffle on a bit about how I got this far, and what choices I made along the way.
Make Magazine issue 21 was my first exposure to the idea of cheap, home-built 3D printing. I’d subscribed to Make out of a burst of Arduino– microcontroller-inspired enthusiasm. I’m prone to sudden enthusiasms, as my eclectically stuffed bookshelves attest. The early Makerbot cupcakes appeared to be a little too finicky for my tastes, back in those early days, but I kept following the developments and bided my time.
Since then, I’ve discovered the reprap movement, the origins of the makerbot design, and of most of the other sub-$10,000 3D printers. I realised that I could build a bigger, faster, more hackable machine for much less money by buying the bits myself. Then I thought about postage – I live in a beautiful rural area in Australia, 3 hours drive from the nearest capital city, and Australia post doesn’t deliver to houses out this way. So international postage on each component, and fuel costs to drive to my post box 30km away.
More web-surfing research, and I discovered MakerGear. They sell the ideal kit for me. Well, I haven’t got it yet, but all the comments and writeups that I’ve found on the web about MakerGear have been positive. And you wouldn’t believe (unless you are as anal about looking-before-you-leap as I am) how many people and companies I’m glad I >didn’t< try to buy from. And it even comes in at a price below the Australian Customs “you owe us lots of money” tariff cutoff. Unless the $AUD plunges against the $US in the next week or so. All the parts I need, upgraded bearings, heated build platform, assembled electronics, all guaranteed compatible, and all in one big heavy box. Ok, postage was over $150, but you make some sacrifices to live in paradise.
So the kit is on its way. I’m really excited, and a bit nervous about putting it all together. I took the coward’s way out and paid MakerGear extra to have them solder the electronics, because my soldering experience doesn’t stretch to tiny little SMDs.
In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied learning openSCAD, and GitHub (which is magic, by the way), and wondering how to keep my plastic PLA filament dry in a North Coast subtropical sauna of the sort that happens every year over summer. 95% relative humidity and 35 degrees Celsius, after the thunderstorms blow out to sea. And no aircon in our elderly farmhouse. Anybody have any ideas?