This blog is about my desktop 3D printing experiences. Making magical things out of plastic derived from corn.
I’m a guy who read Tom Swift stories at too young an age. Also How and Why Wonder Books. I built my first lego-like house model in 1971. In high school I discovered electronics in the golden age of CB Radio, and from there it was a short hop into Amateur Radio.
Then my Mum bought us a TRS80 model 1 desktop computer (4kB RAM, expanded to 16kB, program storage on audio cassette). I dived headfirst into the fascinating world of computer programming and — apart from knocking up a simple 1-transistor interface to connect it to an ancient model 15 teleprinter — I was lost to the world of hardware for decades.
I almost succumbed in the 1990s when the Basic Stamp came out (I hacked up a set of brainwave-synchronising flashing-led sunglasses), but I was having fun programming animation on Commodore Amigas and Mac Quadras at work, and motorcycling, Indoor Rockclimbing, and birdwatching in my spare time. Oh, and studying Hypnosis and Neuro Linguistic Programming.
Now I’ve abandoned the city for an idyllic rural property, and internet by satellite because the phone company has trouble maintaining its copper land lines, much less installing any sort of ADSL.
Between never-ending bouts of weed clearing (ever clear 4m high lantana by hand on a 45 degree slope?) I’ve got time to get into making the cool fictional stuff I read about as a boy. I’ve done some hacking on an Arduino Mega, to the point where I had an variable-waveform interrupt-driven monophonic synthesiser controlled by a kids’ toy piano from an op-shop (charity shop/thrift store for you non-Aussies).
Now, after endless hours spent web-surfing and reading forums (research, I tell you…) I’ve bitten the bullet and ordered a Mendel Prusa reprap kit from MakerGear. The only way to make a DIY 3D printer more Tom-Swiftian is to put it in a home-made moon rocket*.
Update 2011: It arrived. I built it. It is even more cool than I thought it would be. More fun than almost anything I’ve done in decades. Now to learn 3D modelling.
Update 2017: Now I’ve bought commercial printers that work better than mine ever did. And cost less! Technology marches on. Still haven’t learnt 3D modelling, but I’ve got more motivation now!