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Project 38: 3d printing at the Fab Lab

October 12, 2011

I went to NC State yesterday to find the mobile Fab Lab, shoot a few photos, make a couple of things, and leave. Well, that wasn’t quite how the day went. When I got there, the Fab Lab looked like this:

Fab Lab

So I stuck around and helped out for the day. I’ll show you some of the fun things the students were making tomorrow. Today I’ll show you the 3d printer.

For this project I found a small object that someone else had designed and put on on Thingiverse.com. I wanted it to print up quickly so I could show you how a 3d printer works. The lab was so busy for so much of the day that a quick object was really the only way I’d get to show you anything today. You can see the design here.

This is a 3d printer called a Makerbot:

Makerbot

It’s pretty small and fits on a countertop. It takes a spool of plastic, feeds it through an extrusion head, and prints 3d objects. Cool, eh?

Makerbot top

In the above photo you can see the spool of plastic, the thread going into the head, and some of the belt that moves the platform around to make the designs. The head melts the plastic and the bed takes the information from the computer to build your objects. Here it is in action:

Chalk woman in action

Or you can watch this video of a different object being printed:

In the end I have an awesome little plastic lady that I can use as a keychain. What would you make with a 3d printer?

Chalk woman

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