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3D Printing Start-up at VE6JF

3D printing start-up

Today I am starting a series of guest articles to describe adoption and 3D printing start-up by some of my ham friends.

It’s been seven years now since I started 3D printing. I have enjoyed it immensely, especially since I got my original Prusa i3 MK3S two years ago. You can review a lot of my 3D printing activities here.

But I have been doing this stuff for so long, I have probably forgotten much of the challenge and excitement of the 3D printing start-up process. So, I asked a few of my ham friends to describe their recent experiences. Let’s start with Jim VE6JF in Calgary.

Last fall, I was telling Jim how easy it was to build enclosures for DIY projects. I offered to print some for him to support mounting modules for his homebrew receiver project. Before I could blink, Jim bought his own printer to compliment his DIY CNC, and is now enjoying his 3D printing start-up.

According to Jim: “I purchased a Prusa MK3S+ kit last month and used the on-line manual for my build. It was very helpful to read other peoples comments and tips during the build process. The actual assembly took me more time than most people, but for me it was more of a journey than a destination. I’m a late adopter of 3D printing (this is my first) but I find it so useful that in retrospect, wish I had started it earlier.

My 3D printing has accelerated some of my projects, as the slowest steps have been packaging my PCB’s by making homemade boxes from aluminum and searching for hardware.” (It’s very easy to design and print project boxes, including shielding with metallic spray paint.)

3D Printing Start-up for Homebrew – Learning the Software

Jim says: “While there are a lot of existing 3D designs for printing freely downloadable on the net, I knew that would become restricting. I concluded that designing my own using a CAD application would quickly become necessary and allow me to utilize the printer to it’s fullest.

I tried OpenSCAD initially but after a few designs, switched to Fusion 360. In addition to a more visual experience, found that Fusion on the overall much easier to use. It also allowed me to import and trace measured drawings, text for engravings and even screen captures as a starting point in a design. It is impressive to see how quickly an idea can go from a concept to reality!”

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