As many on Twitter have seen (and are probably already tired of seeing), I got myself a budget 3D Printer.

Several of my coworkers would come to work with their “latest print” and it would range from utilitarian to really cool movie prop reproductions. In my mind, this hobby was prohibitively expensive. Last I heard about 3D printers, the entry-level ones ranged in the $1500+ range. And all I was seeing from those early adopters (circa 2013) was plastic bow ties and other such useless figurines; not enough of a motivator to dish out that kind of cash.

I carried this mindset even to just this month, where one coworker said I could obtain a 3D printer for less than $200. He recommended the Anet A8, perhaps the cheapest consumer printer on the market.

However, I went with a Creality Ender 3 since my other coworker had extensive experience with this model, and I thought it might be easier to diagnose problems if someone else I knew had the same machine.

Since then I’ve started to apply this “toy” toward actual practical uses. And in the latest step, last night I designed a 3-hole guy ring for a portable mast completely from imagination, and printed it.

3D Modeling software for first design.

First draft 3D print of 3-hole guy ring

Testing fit of guy ring

It happens all the time with engineers and artists, but the thought really hit home with this print that something completely in my mind became a real physical object through this process.

Here’s another video of something I made from a design I found on Thingiverse.

Build projects will only increase now that it is possible to daydream designs and fabricate my own actual plastic parts.

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