The Smoth Mealer
The Smoth Mealer (pictured above) is the SolidSmack office pet, mascot, and copy editor. He’s something of a twisted, maladjusted, chia-pet-meets-space-traveling-cannibal on a Segway. He appears on podcasts and, very occasionally, writes articles like this one.
Lately he’s been doing a lot of 3D printing–mostly relating to the booby traps he’s been leaving around the office–and asked if he could write a post on the subject.
The SolidSmack Team
Everybody wants to talk about faster 3D printing.
For me, 3D printing is like making sweet love to the communal office microwave oven. Take my word for it: you don’t wanna rush that.
For some people it’s all about the end product. For me, it’s about savoring the acrid aroma of off-gassing polylactic acid as its state shifts from solid to liquid and back again. I love the ear splitting screech of servo motors and low-quality bearings grinding away behind a structurally questionable urethane foam and sheet metal gantry. If I had fingers, they would long for the coarse, irregular texture of an FDM print so slow you could probably have done it faster and more accurately with a hot glue gun and a few trips to Little Caesar’s.
What’s the hurry, everybody?
Today I spent no less than twenty minutes just loading the filament into my BakerMot Make & Bake 2000 (names changed to protect the innocent). It involved a screwdriver, an allen wrench, a lot of potty humor, and at least three snack breaks. To some, this might seem like a wasteful way to spend my working ours. But to me, it’s just a form of validation: my robotic baby child still needs me.
The joys of complete disassembly of equipment and manual feeding of supply is great! It means the machines have not won and will not be taking over the world anytime soon. :grinning:
To the true Slow Print enthusiast, excruciatingly slow slicing software is instead considered luxuriously relaxed. Mind numbingly repetitive clean-up tasks are instead meditatively rhythmic. Low repeatability affords invaluable opportunities for serendipity. Rickety construction adds a tactile, human element to a printer that might otherwise be cold, hard, and sterile (kinda like that microwave oven, except for the “sterile” part).
Waiting five hours for your Yoda feels like an eternity; you can play approximately sixty rounds of Candy Crush Saga in that same timeframe…worse, I’d estimate MakerBot’s failure rate fell in the range of 25%–33%, which meant that there was around a one-in-three chance that two hours in, your Yoda print would fail, or that it would finish but once it was complete, you’d discover it was warped or otherwise defective.
So please, friends, next time you find yourself staring longingly off into the inside of a gas station bathroom stall door wishing your 3D printer were faster, try to think more broadly. Realize that if your 3D printer were faster, it would only mean fewer coffee breaks, fewer trips to the water cooler, fewer totally unnecessary and suspiciously long bathroom breaks, and less time to complain with friends and colleagues about the face-bashing eyeball-clawing slowness of it all.
3D Printing should, at the very least, be slow enough that you can match the sound of the linear motors with the sounds of fingernails scrapping against a chalkboard. Otherwise, 3D Printing is a pointless technology.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some ludicrously sloppy prints to chisel off my BakerMot Make & Bake 2000 and publish on my KickstarterGogo project. #disruption
Love and Best Wishes,