I have zero background, that’s right, ZERO, zip, zilch, nada knowledge in 3D printing, rendering, modeling. My entire working career has been in retail banking and fraud investigations. So how did I get into 3D printing? Well way back in the day I owned a 1999 Isuzu Amigo, she was beautiful, orange with aftermarket black rims, 6-speed automatic, I loved that vehicle. I traded her in because the transmission started giving me problems. WORST MISTAKE!!! I’m not going to bother telling you about the car I purchased because why bother, you know? Fast forward to June 2019. My love for Amigo’s was rekindled when I wanted to start off-roading again. We (boyfriend and I) started searching, and searching, and searching for another Amigo to find that they were gone, practically extinct. I went as far as being willing to drive to the east coast to get one, and these babies were being sold for over $10k! A vehicle that was no longer in production, that was small and could, if upgraded, be a rock crawler that matched a Jeep Wrangler or an 80’s Toyota Pickup. Here comes August 2019, we are picking up last minute things before flying to Canada for a vacation, and in the store parking lot is a black 2001 Isuzu Amigo Ironman edition. We walk over and start looking at this beauty, she was no frills, normal wear and tear for a 19-year-old SUV. The owner walks out and see’s us looking into his vehicle, I explain that why we were looking at it, one-month later BOOM, that Amigo was mine. But we had some problems, she was missing some pieces, and Isuzu stopped making the Amigo/Rodeo Sport in 2004, and for Christmas I got a new soft-top but a piece of the rear tailgate that clips the soft-top in was broken off. So, what do you do? While I was looking for an Amigo, my boyfriend, Shawn, (unbeknownst to me) was looking at a 3D printer because it’s cool tech, if you need something get the specs use a program, print it out. Right after Christmas a large box was delivered, he opens the box and pulls out a QIDI X-Plus. And he sets off taking measurements and creating the clip that was needed to replace the soft-top.
Now comes April, mid COVID-19 pandemic, I had just quit my job working for a credit union’s fraud department. I start seeing adverts on social media selling ear savers with Lake Tahoe cut out of the middle and the item being cut from acrylic. I think “I bet I can do that”, and I start looking up 3D CAD style software, and find Tinkercad. Click here, place a square there, now I don’t want to do Lake Tahoe as the center cutout because I don’t want to compete with someone selling in my hometown. Then I find Tinkercad has pre-made states! So I grab Nevada and place that in the center, make the diameter of the whole thing 1.70mm so it has some flex, save it to a USB, bring it out to the garage, and upload it to Simplify 3D, save to disk, so many steps! Heat up the nozzle, change out the ABS filament to PLA, open Qidi’s printing software, upload it to Qidi, and print, so excited I stay and watch it printing my creation…. The bed is heating up, now the extruder, the axes are moving into starting position, the first line is drawn. At this point I have my forehead resting on the door of the machine, fascinated. Qidi moves to the center of the build-plate and starts drawing the exterior perimeter and the line isn’t sticking to the plate, but the nozzle, my print has already failed. I quickly hit stop to not waste filament. I had made my first mistake; I didn’t check the machine to make sure it was level after 3 months of sitting idle. At the same time, I didn’t change the print settings from the Amigo’s ABS to what I wanted to print as PLA. At this point Shawn has come back out into the garage to watch what I am trying to accomplish. I find the bed level settings and he gave me a sheet to test for leveling, following the directions I get her re-leveled. Next was learning what temps I should be printing at, I start searching the interwebs, making my life so much harder than just looking at the box which has guidelines for printing temperatures or even the roll of filament. Finding all of the information I was looking for, I got the settings all dialed in, queued up my print, and sat on my chair and waited and waited and waited. Finally, Qidi starts to print, first line down, second line down, working from the exterior to the interior, the print starts to take shape. Those moments were all it took to start this journey, the print finished, not the beautiful item I had in mind, the state was crooked, and too small. But I wanted to make it better. That night I started dreaming about the 3d printing machine, in fact for 3 weeks straight all I dreamed about was 3d printing. I made 2 different ear savers in Hatchbox blue, and put them up for sale, they were a hit sold over 100 in the first week I got my specs dialed in. I took them to my local doctor’s office and gave them away. I felt like I had found something I could do, for both a hobby and a full-time job. So, with Shawn’s help, I created “Dreaming in Print”.
See you next time.