Kickstarter Campaigns for Printers We Wish We Could Buy

I recently tried to come up with some options for printing doll’s clothing (yes, I’m still a young girl at heart). I ended up finding a lot of cool Kickstarter campaigns that failed, are in the process, or are still trying to satisfy backers.

Here’s some printers I really wish were on the market now:

  1. Olo

Olo, sometimes called Ono, has over 2 million backers on Kickstarter, and there is a reason for it. The resin 3D printer is going for $99. Even better? You can run the software right from your phone. I love how the printer looks modern, is cheap (college people always like cheap things), and seems pretty easy. Plus, they say sapphire is a-soon-to be offered color. Blue is my favorite color!

2. Electroloom

This invention sounds so cool, and I’m bummed things didn’t turn out for the company. They didn’t get the necessary funding. I think they’re cool because they 3D print fabric! That’s right. Fabric. I would love to design my prom dress and then print it. Alternatively, it’d be great to walk up in the morning, digitally design a mood fitting shirt, and have it printing while I chow down on a healthy breakfast. Who knows what will happen in 50 years?

3. Peachy Printer

This is a self assembly kit for only $100 dollars. Sadly, there was some embezzlement problems, and they’re still trying to get the product out to backers. I hope things work out for them though because an super cheap resin 3D printer would be amazing!

4. Prometheus

This isn’t actually a 3D printer. It’s an upgrade, but I think it would be great! It’s a current campaign which has received more than quadruple in backing. I love the idea because it enables you to 3D print in many colors. Yes!

Anyways, I thought these campaigns all seemed pretty cool, and it just shows us what is possible. I can’t wait to see what 3D printing will be like when I’m old and wrinkly.



The Difference Between ABS and PLA for 3D Printing

It’s always tricky to figure out what filament best fits your needs.

This article really demonstrates what makes both plastics different. We love it!:)


A Three Year Old Gets A New Hand

Colby met the Christensen family while working at a 3D printing trailer  during the Utah County Fair. Their little boy was missing a hand, and they’d been thinking about printing him one.

It was perfect for us because Colby’s been wanting to print a hand for some time. He jumped in to help them out! While working at the fair, he started printing parts for the hand.

We spent several Mondays over at the Christensen household putting the hand together. We considered various sizes and printed multiple prototypes. Finally, the young lad had a finished hand!  We’re not done yet though. An even better hand is in the works.

I interviewed their three-year old Daxton about his hand, and he excitedly told me how happy he is about it. He got to pick the colors for one of the prototypes, and he’s happy its blue and orange. He said he enjoys moving his hand, and he’s played football with it. He hopes to be able pick stuff up with the new hand they’re working on.

He’s been going around telling friends and others about his new ‘robot hand’. For Halloween, he plans to dress up as Darth Vader using his new hand.

My husband really enjoyed learning how to create hands and so did I.  He said he taled to another kid who wants to print hands for his Eagle Scout project. It’s pretty fun to help other people!

Want to create a 3D printing hand? Here’s some step-by-step instructions.


3D Print Your Halloween Costume (And More)


My husband has been 3D modeling since he was nine. He’s as advanced as they come.

I, however, am a newbie. I never tried it until  a year ago while taking a class from my hubby. At the time, I didn’t really understand what was going on, so I got a lot of assistance.

My real first attempt to model was for my Halloween costume last year.

I decided to be Sadness from Pixar’s Inside Out. Using a simple modeling program called TinkerCad, I created glasses for my costume. As you can see, my first attempt wasn’t the best (the glasses are WAY too small), but it worked!

Halloween is coming up again, and 3D printing is a great way to create your own unique costume or decorate a creepy front yard. You can 3D model something yourself, hire someone (like us), or  search through hundreds already created options on Thingiverse.

Here are some cool 3D printing Halloween ideas:

1-Accessorize your costume.

Colby 3D printed a hand for a two-year old boy missing one. The kid’s going to use it in real life too, but he decided the robohand needs to be part of his Halloween costume. Last I heard, he’s debating between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. If you don’t want to do the robot hand but want to stick with the Star Wars theme–consider printing a lightsaber or cool Darth Vader mask.

2-Print a Jack-O-Lantern instead of carving it.

Carving pumpkins is cool, but it can get messy with all the gooey guts and dangerously sharp knives. You want to enjoy Halloween’s scariness, not create fear with a severed finger. Last year, Colby taught kids  to 3D model by helping them design their own scary pumpkin faces. Here are the results!

3-Decorate your house.

Create a Halloween madhouse with spider webs, skeletons, and celebration plaques.  Whatever says Halloween to you, you can print it.

4-Go all out!

Why just accessorize your costume when you can print the whole darn thing?  Store bought costumes are just expensive, and, let’s face it, they don’t look nearly as good. DIY costumes are a popular alternative, so make it easy on yourself by letting a printer do all the work. And, if you don’t own a printer yourself, we’ll print it for you.

Brainstorming this list was fun, but I kept coming up with more creepy ideas! Halloween is a time to let the imagination run wild and free, after all. Why not print a Halloween basket to go with your kid’s outfit? Or, you could create eerie cookie cutters. Put crazy eyeballs on a cake. Create a spooky car antenna cap.

The possibilities are endless, so go out  and dream of something strange and unusual. Happy Halloween!

The STEM Dilemma: Girls in STEM

The USA has been unable to  fill demand for STEM employment despite growing needs. Right now, we have 500,000 unfilled jobs in STEM, but it is estimated to be 2.5 million by 2018.

While the majority of college graduates are female, more men pursue STEM-related careers than women, according to the White House website.  This lack of career pursuits keeps America from developing as rapidly as it might be. This problem could be resolved if MORE women  participated in STEM careers.

One way to address this problem is to engage and excite girls about STEM  topics when young. 3D printing is a great way to learn STEM skills like engineering, algebra and geometry. Studies show that girls are more interested  in STEM once applied  to ‘feminine’ topics  such as cosmetics or shopping. 

Colby gave some insights into girls in his 3D printing classes during a Q & A:

How many girls were in the 3D printing class?

Approximately 75 girls between 7-11 were in STEM class, 10-25%

What did they print?

Flowers, hearts, their names

Why were they taking class?

He asked EVERY girl and these were answers given.

  • For Fun
  • Future hopes of STEM career
  • Literally just to watch 3D printing
  • Wanted to learn to do 3D printing

What were some concern or dissatisfactions the girls experienced?

They all loved it. They felt disappointed that class wasn’t longer. The program had a steep learning curve, teaching was too fast for some because software was complicated They wanted to use their own printer instead of share.At the end of class,  they wished they had their own printer

What are some specific challenges in learning that these girls faced?

They liked TinkerCad a lot more. It was easy for them to learn. But, I taught Onshape because it provided much more learning of STEM like Geometry. They can’t learn Geometry in TinkerCad.

There you have it! Girls love 3D printing. It’s a great way for them to gain essential STEM skills for a future STEM world.


Strange (and really cool) Filament Types

It’s true that people usually print in PLA or ABS plastic. But, there are all kinds of interesting filaments out there. Bored or interested in trying something new? From wood to aluminum, here are some of our favorite filament options:wood

  1. Wood

We purchased some wood filament and tried it out. It’s not the best thing around. Picture the glue and sawdust toys during WWII. That’s what you’re going to get. Still, it’s a lot of fun. Wood you like to try it?

2. Nylon

Nylon is a great choice if you want something flexible. It’s also super strong. Literally, it’s used in parachutes for skydiving. So, if you want something you can bend a lot, nylon works well.

  3. Aluminum

Searching through Amazon, we found some aluminum filament. It’s made from 40% aluminum and 60% PLA. We haven’t tried it yet, but you want to. You’ll have to let us know what your experience is like.


4. Chocolate

Feeling hungry? Chocolate is a popular option when 3D printing! Colby is creating a lesson plan now to teach kids to print candy. Holidays are coming up, so you could make something edible and personalized too.

Know any other fun filament types? Let us know in the comments below!