If you don’t know already, the guy who writes these blog posts is me, Jaidyn Edwards. I am an Arduino and robotics enthusiast.
Robotics is such an interesting field of technology, it combines hardware, electronics and software into one ‘all you can eat buffet’. One thing that has dramatically shaken up the robotics world is 3D printing. Complicated mechanical systems are now easily created by anyone who has access to a 3D printer and can either search the internet, or model in CAD package. This of course is a huge thing for robotics. Gone are the days where software guys made their robots out of Popsicle sticks and hot glue. The hardware guys are now learning how to use 3D design software. Lastly, the electronics guys get a bit of both. The sky has quite literally become the limit.
Robotics has tremendously benefited by the advancements in rapid prototyping that’s for sure. And myself being a robotics nut, wanted to get in on the action.
A few months ago I dreamed of having a 3D printer, but financial reasons made it impossible. But now, making YouTube videos has become somewhat of a job for me and finally, I have just finished building my own 3D printer, the open source Prusa Mendel iteration 2.
It’s been a long and bumpy road full of headaches, late and sleepless nights, research and thumbling around with an Alan key and M3 nuts. Yesterday I printed my first custom designed robotic part, I was ecstatic. Something that I designed is now in existence. It’s like giving birth, painful, takes a long time, but ultimately, what comes out is just incredible. Ok, that was a little dramatic, a plastic ‘LEGO’ like piece is in no way comparable to bringing a child into the world, but darn, when I have a kid of my own, I’m pretty sure it would feel a little something like this.
I choose to make my own so that I could learn more about the technology behind it. I knew the basic idea, plastic goes in, magic happens, part comes out, but I wanted to know enough to perhaps one day design a printer of my own (don’t worry, I’m not going to add to the enormous list of ‘custom designed’ printers on Kickstarter).
It truly has been an educational experience. The problems that you encounter along the way are secret knowledge quests wrapped up in a ball of frustration, but, I’d do it all over again.
What was the point of this blog post? Well, I hope to inspire you. It truly is an amazing experience that I recommend to everyone.
If you want to get into the world of 3D printing, but are not sure where to start, you have a choice, build or buy. Which one you choose is up to you. If you want to build one, check out the RepRap wiki for some open source options to choose from. Don’t forget, you can buy all your 3D printing right here at Core-Electronics! Just go to the 3D printing section.