Do you have access to a 3D printer?

3D printing the open source way
Image credits: MakerBot
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(4 votes)
Do you have access to a 3D printer?
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40.1% (290 votes)

3D printing is changing the game. The way we strategize, plan, create, and do business is different now that objects can be materialized by adding layer upon layer.

A 3D printer is something anyone or any business can purchase: LulzBot (AO-101 3D Printer for $1,725) and Makerbot (Replicatorâ„¢2 for $1,999) are two innovators achieving high marks in this makerspace.

  • Has your place of work installed a 3D printer? Do you have access to it? What is that process like? 
  • Do you want your boss to purchase one? Why do you think it would make a difference?
  • Own one personally? What do you make?

Tell us in the comments below or join the conversation @opensourceway on Twitter.


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robinmuilwijk's picture
Open Source Sensei

We don't have one at work. I work at a municipality right now, and can't think of something for a municipality to make use of such a printer. Personally I do not own one (yet). I think my son would want to use it, printing all sorts of Lego parts.

Ryan Turner's picture

Yep! I actually work for a relatively new business Maker's Tool Works that manufactures and sells "prosumer" level 3D printers (we support the MendelMax project, which is what the Lulzbot AO-101 is derived from).
As part of that, I get to have a printer (a MendelMax 2.0) with me in my home office. I buy the material for things that I want to print that are not for the business, and that's really cheap. I get to keep the machine.
I print a lot of parts for custom projects. I really enjoy homebrewing, flying, and as of the last few weeks photography. Having a 3D printer lets me innovate and also participate in other people's projects. It's really facilitating open-source hardware development for lots of typically "big business" restricted areas.

Brett_Boehm's picture
Community Member

Would be great for displaying new ideas. Some of us simply can't draw.

ramgarden's picture

We have the makerbot original with cupcake CNC and two Prusa Mendel RepRaps at Makers Local 256 ( They are all in various states of "functional to a degree". We have a box of items that were printed back when they were working that we can show to people when they visit us on public night every Tuesday night.

MarkusQ's picture

We're helping the engineering club at the local elementary school build and operate (and modify) a mendel; so far, its main value has been as a goal that's clear enough and complex enough to present interesting real-world challenges ("the coupling doesn't fit this way, but it won't be strong enough that way, and adding a support would interfere with that part so..."). Phase I, building the printer, learning how it works and getting it operating the way we want is proving very rewarding.

And Phase II will be...robot parts.

-- MarkusQ

Unidentified's picture

> Own one personally? What do you make?

Anything I want. :)

subvertigo's picture
Community Member

The one I have access to is primarily used to make things that I would otherwise make out of wood. Thinking about what I made, I could have used a drill press and lathe to get roughly the same result; however with the required tooling/bits it would have been overkill for something I was only going to make one of. I use a Cupcake basic. Version 0029 of replicatorg is the last I've got working that makes printable gcode, but I use version 0040 to get the extruder zeroed.

Example: I made a stand for a weather station that could be attached to a window. This is something that could have been hacked together out of wood, however it's just as easy to throw a few cubes together in OpenSCAD, perform some difference operations with cylinders, and hit print. Since ABS breaks down in sunlight, I painted the part.

Example: I made a clip that holds a rolling snap-action switch to a cage trap door so I know if the door is open or shut. A cable is attached between some LEDs and the switch to show current status. The switch was attached using adhesive foam strips, but they kept coming off.

On thingiverse, I am a fan of the blowers, turbines, and bellows designs.

Ayla's picture

Another question might be, do you know if you have access to a 3D printer? More and more universities are getting 3D printers and labs on campus but staff might not necessarily know where they are or that they even have them.