3D printing is all the rage these days, and it has gone so far that you almost anyone can buy his own 3D printer. If you’re in the market for one, Tom’s Guide has a handy reference on the best 3D printers in the market, with prices ranging from $349 to $2,899. Then there is the Peachy Printer, which was a successful Kickstarter campaign, aiming to sell the first $100 3D printer. Yup, it is easy as pie to get a 3D printer without breaking the bank.
But what’s a geek/nerd for if he can’t build one for himself, right?
If that’s a measure for you, then Michael Ball may very well be crowned the 3D printer king, for he is working on a DIY 3D printer using old inkjet printer parts! How awesome is that???
While there is no doubt many of us still use laser printers and inkjet printers, asking questions like, “Why HP Toner Cartridge?” and “Should I use inkjet refills?”, I am pretty sure that you have one or two old inkjet printers that you can use to emulate Michael Ball. And, even if you don’t have one sitting around, it’s still easy enough to get your hands on the devices that Michael Ball suggests for the project – even easier and more affordable than buying a ready-made 3D printer.
He shares his story in his blog, where his journey starts with the question:
Why are there not many hobbyists re-using old All-In-One or Multifunction printers to scavenge parts from?
For sure, there must be a good reason why this is not happening, but that did not deter Michael, and he went on to purchase a printer and a printer/scanner and took the parts he needed to put a DIY 3D printer together.
But that was the easy part. He shares that his project couldn’t be totally made out of salvaged parts, and that he still needed to buy certain things such as some 80/20 T-Slot aluminum extrusion.
In short, he’s made some progress, but he’s still got some ways to go. In a more recent post detailing his work on the DIY 3D printer, he talks about DC motors – so you know this is going to get even more complicated. But you have got to admire this guy!
While it is so easy to shell out several hundred dollars for a 3D printer (assuming you have the money, of course), it takes something else to commit to a project that will not only take time and money, but also a lot of creativity, research, hands on work, and patience.
Take a look at what he has got so far, and be motivated and impressed!
Sure, a DIY 3D printer may not be the easiest and most cost affordable option, but imagine the immense sense of self-achievement that you will have at the end of it all. Not to mention geek cred. Sky high geek cred.
What say you? Challenge accepted?
Postscript: In case you’re wondering who the heck is Michael Ball:
He has survived various roles in the IT field for the past 25+ years from Hardware developer with the National Research Council, through Network Administrator, and teaching Computer Science, to Network Architect and CISO of a prominent Insurance company. Most recently, he is currently in the Position of Information Security Architect for a Canadian Financial Institution.
So check out his blog, Arduino-Pi Ramblings. Who knows, you might make a new friend!
Here’s a little more on 3D printing to whet your appetite: