MAKE international 3D printing meetup

Last night was the first international maker meetup on 3d printing, hosted by MAKE magazine. I was able to help gather about 17 folks down at the Vancouver Hack Space (aka VHS) to watch the live Google+ Hangout and generally geek out about 3d printing.

MAKE 3d printing meetup at VHS

MAKE just published their guide to 3d printing and sent along some copies and other swag for the meetup attendees. Easily the most comprehensive guide to 3d printers, the technology behind them and where they are going, it’s a fantastic read which I highly recommend if you’re considering a 3d printer.

One of the things MAKE did to compare the plethora of 3d printers out there is create a torture test model and had each printer attempt to print it. I’m happy to say that my Replicator 2 was able to print it no problem using the default (medium quality) settings in MakerWare:

Torture test

Torture test

Does look like there was some issues with the walls of the cube:

Torture test

although I think it’s easier to print the test piece in PLA, and I’m also convinced that the filament used can play a role in the printability of certain models. I think a more conclusive test would have been to use the same filament vendor and color across the board but that likely wasn’t possible due to the different models in the roundup.

I was happy to see my friends at Tinkerine Studios (a local company that designs and sells 3d printers) get a mention in the magazine for their Ditto printer (which I’ve written about before) although they weren’t in the testing portion of the guide, there was one in the house for the meetup. I should point out that one of the interesting discoveries by the MAKE folks was that one of our favourite owl models has a unique property that most printers are unable to print and that’s the nostrils in the owl’s beak. Eugene brought his Ditto print of the owl and you can see the holes are there (although it was scaled nearly 300%):

The Owl with the hole in his beak

I’m wondering if it’s more an issue with the slicing method used versus an issue with the printer though as the variety of slicing packages is almost as diverse as the printers. The same applies for the torture test above.

Thanks to MAKE for hosting and providing the goodies!

I got home from the meetup to find that after about 11 hours of printing (3 separate parts), I was able to get a near perfect print of the large Sappho’s head model:

Again using the medium MakerWare setting, the detail turned out fantastic.


I really love the way this printed with the topographic-like lines and swirls you can only mostly see up close:


P.S. if you missed out on the MAKE Meetup, I’m told they’re planning more in 2013. As well, we have a 3d printer club that meets twice a month out in the Fraser Valley (transit accessible even!) so head over to for more info.

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