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Building the Vulcanus: Week 2

Alright so I know this is a bit anti-climactic but in my search for locally sourced M5 10mm screws, I hit a bit of a dead end. Home Depot didn’t have them in nearly the quantities I required, neither did any of the other hardware stores I checked in the city. My next step is to call around to some of the Auto parts suppliers and country hardware stores and hopefully get them there, otherwise I’m going to have to order them online. Either way, I will have them for next week in order to work on the next part.

Now, what I’m going to talk about this week is “Is a 3d printer right for me?”

There are many reasons to own a 3d printer, but only a few not to. One of the biggest ones is “I want something that will work right out of the box with very little input or troubleshooting.”

If that’s what you’re expecting out of a 3d printer, then do not get one, at least not for another couple years. Even the most advanced printers on the market don’t work out of the box. Every single one needs calibration, cleaning, maintenance and troubleshooting. In particular aligning the bed, cleaning out the print heads and fixing any little errors, not to mention making sure that the filament feeds and unspools properly.

That being said, none of the things I mentioned are very hard to do, just time consuming. A 3d printer is not something that will work perfectly 100% of the time, it requires a lot of checking up on and calibrating. Vibrations from other surfaces can destroy your prints, as can excess humidity in your filament, heater failures, filament diameter being too large or any one of a million little things that can add up to screw these things up.

When it does work though, boy is it work it. Some of the things you can do with a 3d printer are incredible, and you are limited only by your own imagination and determination. I have seen fully articulated 3d printed prosthetics and scale model replicas of the Death Star or Enterprise.

To be honest, the world of 3d printing isn’t very glamorous, nor is it easy, but when you get everything working just right, it’s incredible. I mentioned last time how I will be probably be building a Batman suit once I’m finished, well here are just a few things that people have made with their printers, some simply useful, and others simply awe-inspiring.

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Tune back in next week when I start to assemble the frame together, with lots of pictures and lots of swearing.


Yves Hacault is a content creator for AYB and a suspected BORG.

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