Make 3D Printer Shootout 2014

In August I went out to Youngstown Ohio to visit America Makes and to take part in the third annual Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout weekend. This is the place where we do the labwork and research to generate the data used for the annual Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing issue. We spend 50-60 hours over the course of a few days with more than a dozen testers putting the printers through the paces, collecting physical results, reading provided documentation, sometimes troubleshooting, and generally spending a lot of time together.

Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout 2014 - Day 1

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Project Car: Porsche 944

As a kid I’d always been a fan, but I wasn’t ever really into the more modern P-cars as I grew up and had the ability to actually get one.   Recently one of my father’s ex-students called him to let him know that he had a 1985.5 944 for sale cheap, but it needed work.  A plan was hatched, and a few weeks later we were renting a trailer.

Started No Problem on jumper cables


It was rough when we found it.  It ran, but it had been poorly re-painted, the interior was trashed, the passenger front corner was a little mangled, and on and on.   But it was cheap!

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House Industries Script Lettering Workshop

I’ve been a fan of House Industries for a long time now and when we first moved to Delaware I nearly drove off the road when I unexpectedly drove past their HQ.   In May of this year they held a Script Lettering workshop at their office that sold out in just one day.

I had to attend!  Most of the people who went are graphic artists or worked in a related field, so I was at least a little bit out of my element.  The House team gave us run of the place, let us talk to / harass anyone we wanted, and generally poke around when we had breaks in the action.

My work wasn’t anything special out of the gate, but the instruction by Ken Barber  was great and he provided constructive feedback throughout the day.

Early work:

Workshop at House Industries

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BotBuilder Workshop – Philadelphia

In April we hosted another BotBuilder 3D Printer Assembly workshop, this time at the amazing Department of Making + Doing in Philadelphia.

This workshop was to help people assemble their own Open Source RepRap 3D printers.   We had a great time, and people built them really fast!   We had some printers running on the first day of the 2-day workshop, and all of them printing great before the end of the weekend.
Extruder Build
Getting things assembled!

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Ultimaker Build Workshop

In March I was at the Delaware Division of Libraries to lead an Ultimaker Build Workshop.   These printers will go out to 7 or 8 of the local libraries in Delaware for public usage, once the policies and procedures are all finalized.

Delaware Libraries Ultimaker 3D Printer Build


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3D Printer Village 2013

For the fourth year running (wow, really?) I organized and managed the 3D Printer Village for World Maker Faire in NYC.     What started as 12 of us in a single tent back in 2010 has now exploded.

For this year the 3D Printer Village was made up of 13 tents, with 85 different displays!

Organizing all of this takes weeks of space planning, power routing, signage, etc…   It also means that you get on-site a little early and get to see stuff like sunrise over the rockets:

World Maker Faire 2013 - 3D Printers
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Introducing BotBuilder

After a few years of running the World Maker Faire 3D Printer Village, one of the most common discussions we always have with people is “Does anyone teach a class on how to build or tune your own 3D printer?”

So I went out and made that.   Our first workshop is in October 2013, and we’re building Prusa i3 ‘single plate’ printer kits.   I’ve gone to great lengths to get really nice parts, and we’ve done  a lot of work up front to make sure that they’re easy to assemble:

BotBuilder Prusa i3 Kit - Complete

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Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout 2014

The first Make Magazine Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing was one of their most successful issues.   We took a new approach with it in that nobody had really sat down and tried to objectively compare the various printers on the market against each other.   Combined with a collection of great how-to articles around 3D scanning and finishing, I was proud of my work on the issue and probably sold 50 of them myself just referring people to it.

When Make inquired to see if I would be interested in writing for the second edition – I jumped at the chance, and booked my flights.

Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout Weekend

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Prusa Mendel i3: 3D Printer


After crossing paths with Jo Prusa at the last few World Maker Faires in NYC, he always jokes that I only have corporate printers with me at the Faire.

This year I decided to build a new Prusa i3 single-sheet printer for the summer and fall Maker events in our area.

This isn’t meant to be a howto – I followed this one for most of my steps:

Here are some pics from the printing and assembly process.

Prusa i3 Printer - Parts piling up
Frame acquired, starting to print parts.

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iMakr Store Visit: London


While in London for a business trip, I walked and took the train for a bit to get to the iMakr store – the “World’s Largest 3D Printer Store.”

The store had opened a few weeks earlier, and even on a rainy afternoon there was foot traffic inside, browsing the wares.

iMakr Store - Prints for sale / on display
Prints on Display

The retail (upstairs) space is about half printers on display, and half printed designs available for sale. These ranged from the expected (chess sets) to the unexpected – and clearly not printed on hobbyist printers – jewelry.

iMakr Store - iRapid Printer
iRapid Printer

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