And now his company has sent him a new "toy" to play with!
This week he received a 3D printer, to help with some of the rapid prototyping stuff he does. Have you ever seen these things? They are incredibly cool, and it does exactly what it says it does, it prints in 3D.
Basically, it has a little platform that moves back and forth, and the top arm moves too, putting down layer after layer of melted plastic, until your shape is built up.
This particular printer can make objects up to 5 x 5 inches, although it does take some time to do the printing, so we haven't tried anything super large yet. And it cost around $1,500 for the machine and a starter pack of 5lbs of plastic, so I'm glad my husband's company paid for it (a perk of him being a part owner). It is pretty fun to watch in action too!
My husband played around with the 3D printer first, making some universal joints and plastic clips and boring stuff. But then it was my turn, and I chose to start with something easy, by printing out a giraffe model I found online. You can also make your own shapes with 3D modeling software or Google Sketchup, which is free.
Here is my little giraffe being printed. You can see how it prints with a block under its chin, and also is on a little stand (called a raft). These just help make sure the plastic dries in place without warping as the layers are printed, and you just snap them off once it is done printing.
The giraffe is sitting down, and was looking a little too Loch Ness Monsterish to me, so I added some eyes with a sharpie. I should probably go back and add his spots too. But here you can see how small it is, and this took about a half hour to print.
A close up of the face detail. It was a little rough, because it is so small, and some of the other things we've printed have come out cleaner since they're bigger. But the beauty of it is you can just sand the imperfections out.
Does your husband or SO have any fun gadgets or toys that you've borrowed to use for making fun projects? And what would you make if you had access to a 3D printer?