3D Printing- Jessica H.

Finishing our 3D model was very exciting. It was rewarding seeing to components that I made fit so perfectly with the components Paloma made. Now that our model is finished we have been able to star printing, which, in case you don’t know, refers to days and days of watching melted plastic spray from a small tube at 280 something degrees Celsius onto an elevated platform. Incredibly exciting! You think I’m kidding, but our eyes have all been glued to the repetitive, jerkey movements of the 3D printer.

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(Jessica Starting up the 3D Printer)

The printer is not only fascinating to watch, but it also makes a cool sound, similar to the first half of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bU12wEBsIs

We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error with our device. Our first try was ended early because it was building supports that we thought were unnecessary. Our second try was ended early because those silly supports were actually very important and our device began to fall apart without them. The third time was the charm and we ended up with a very nice 1/3 of our device. Holding the finished product in our hands was absolutely thrilling. We all looked like children seeing a puppy for the first time as we drooled over the the pretty little weapon.

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(3D Printer- Hard at Work)

The next step was to build the head, flashlight part of the device. We set the supports up right and it was printing beautifully, until if suddenly stopped and shut down. There was a small glitch in the printing filament which cause an entire system shut down. After that was fixed we scraped off the finished half and started over. By the end of the next day (this part took 9 hours to print) we had another perfect piece.

We’re all a little amazed by the accuracy of the 3D printer. It takes a complex program and processes it to know exactly how to move and when. Every last angle measured down to a fraction of a millimeter to create utter perfection. Its intriguing to consider how much work must have gone into the engineering of the printer.

The one upside to all our many mistakes in printing our device has been the souvenirs. Each piece is printed onto a disk the the printer makes to help stabilize and later remove the piece. These little plates have been passes around and taken home by all group members. I intend to bring mine with me to college as  trophy for my hard work.

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(3D printing mistake)

From here we will embark on the exciting task of making a working device from all the many parts we have assembled. Our final piece will be finished printing in the morning. Our lights have come in and our sound device has been ordered. We are currently deconstructing a wifi router to create a connection for an app to call the police. Things are looking bright for our project and I am excited to get some feedback from professionals on how our project would stand in the “real world.” We are so close to having a working prototype, so just hang in there a little longer if you’re following.

As always, stay safe.

Neon Shields

 

 

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