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OneBoot's journey down the rabbit hole of 3D printing


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This all started with SisterBoot sending me a text about a month before my birthday saying she'd found some "3d printer files" she thought I'd like, and asked if we had a 3D printer or not. I told her no but that we were planning on one someday, and I'd even backed a couple of minis/terrain stl Kickstarters for when we did.


Fast forward to my birthday and a mysterious large box appearing on our doorstep:



Yep, as a combined birthday/Christmas present for both me and MrBoot, she got us an Ender-3. :bday:


The past week has been a journey in learning all the things I didn't know I didn't know about 3D printing, 3D printers, the Ender-3 specifically, slicing, filament, etc. etc. etc. I've watched a LOT of youtube videos lol. After finally getting it all put together and spending almost an hour fiddling with the bed knobs and a piece of paper, I printed a "bed level" file from a youtube video. To my considerable astonishment, it printed perfectly the first time:



Emboldened by my success, I decided to print the included cat file (this was before I knew the difference between gcodes and stl files - that was a later lesson I learned the hard way lol). Again, I was surprised when it printed without issue:



Next, I felt it was only proper to print my first Benchy boat to signal my formal introduction to the world of 3D printing. This was when I learned about gcodes and stl files, and what a slicer was. Several more youtube videos later, I tentatively loaded my Benchy onto my microSD card (with all the default settings) and set it printing.


This also printed fine, though I did try out the Pause/Resume function (right now I'm nervous leaving it running while asleep, same as I would be leaving the oven running or an iron plugged in) since we were going to bed. This resulted in a thick seam that would almost look intentional if it didn't extend to the cabin portion:



"Aha!" I said to myself. "But of course they printed well, all of these are benchmarks or, in the case of the cat, designed to give a good first print. Surely, the first time I print something I've sliced myself I will get a bed full of spaghetti!"


Except that didn't happen, and this wall piece from the Modulheim kickstarter printed just fine as well:



I'm starting to get nervous that I either somehow accidentally sacrificed to the tech spirits (the capricious and unknowable), or at the very least I'm doing 3D printing "wrong" because based on everything I've read and watched, I shouldn't be having this easy of a time to start with. Heck, I came into this expecting to spend a couple months printing new pieces and endlessly tweaking the parts I already had just to get the thing to function.


Tech spirits aside, I'm having ridiculous fun just watching the printer at work; it's the same feeling I get when I pay attention while I'm crocheting. "I am making a thing that did not exist five minutes ago, and once the process is complete, I will now have a thing which wasn't a thing this morning!"


So yeah, that's the start of my journey. I'm already starting to eye the more complicated stl files on my computer and learning how to use Ultimaker Cura. I can't wait to print my first mini and learn all about tree supports! :bday:



--OneBoot 🙂 

Edited by OneBoot
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I think the Universe requires balance, and your good fortune with 3d printing balances out the numerous catastrophies I've had, so glad I could be of use 😁


Seriously, though, I get what you mean about "didn't exist" and "now there's a thing". It still amazes me every time.


I'm with you on not leaving it running overnight, or while I'm not in the house.


Good luck with future prints.

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Sounds like you did the research and it's paying off for you.

That said, yeah, the cat file is optomized really well for a stock ender to give you an early success.  Benchy however, is intentionally designed to challenge the printer in a few ways so you can see how well dialed in it is.  It is still designed to be printable support free though.  Then there are torture tests like the lattice cubes that really are designed to fail if things aren't perfect.

You really want to test your printer, look up the Makerbot T-rex skeleton on thingiverse, and then do the dumb that I did and scale it down to 60% 🙂  I was eventually successful but it made me figure out a LOT of things.

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