This is a guest post by Austin H., a high school student in Arizona who is building his first 3D printer. We are going to follow along with him on this journey.
Here in Austin's own words:
From the intense battlefield of Iron Man and Terminator, to the hobbyist engaged in radical new ideas from home, three dimensional printing greatly revolutionized the way people build their idea into an empire. Being a high school student, I found myself greatly inspired by the way engineers and designers can shape, mold and innovate an idea into 3D objects that otherwise could never have been done in the past. Having participated in several robotics competitions statewide, the design and complexity of the robots within the program continued to grow, where high school teams, fueled by thousands of dollars, began to print their own three dimensional custom parts to complete tasks deemed as impossible. This use of the technology, found within a community similar (although without much funding) to mine, caught my attention, and later I decided to purchase and build my own RepRap DIY 3D printer.
I decided this would be a great project for the summer, and I began to research what people had printed using 3D printing technology, finding that several parts of the Iron Man suit within the movies had been largely constructed by 3d printers. On a lower level, hobbyist have printed cars, drones, and many other items that would otherwise be scarcely available. Finally, I received my own printer and began to build at 11:00 at night. Within two days, I had accomplished building the frame of the printer, although the extruder, hot plate, and hot end/nozzle had yet to be put together. Having been exposed to robotic building, the motor components and sensory switches were familiar, although, this was the first time I had soldered wire before. Having help from parents, and several online resources, I began to solder together wires for the hot end and plate, and it took several tries to crudely finish. Once these technical engineering problems were finished, I still had much to do, such as organizing the wires, soldering them to main board, and getting power to the printer.
This was an amazing experience in piecing together a technological advancement that will revolutionize the world. I have yet to turn the printer on and try it out, but whether I have a troubleshooting agenda or success, the knowledge and experience I have gained is, in itself, enough. I look forward to joining Iron Man, and the Terminator rising from two dimensions, in designing and printing the next generation of an ever evolving, changing world.