Friday, September 9, 2016

Help make this Blog More Newbie Friendly

The sole reason why I blog is because I have a passion for creativity and I believe that 3D printers have stoked the fires of creative thinking in me like no other technology or tool.  And, I want to share that experience with young and old alike.  In fact, I'm going on 73 but love sharing 3D printing with the young at-risk students that YouthQuest Foundation serves.  3D Printing has the affect of unleashing creativity at ANY age.

But, my years of experience can work against my goals for blogging by allowing me to forget or skip over my own struggles when first trying to use a 3D design application and print on a 3D printer.

This is where I need you.

I need you to ask questions and point out where my explanations fall short of giving you truly useful information.  I need to know where you want to go with 3D printing and what examples you would like to see to help you better understand how 3D printing my be helpful to you.

You can do this by posting comments or sending me an email found in my profile.

The 3D Application Quandary

There are many free 3D applications available to either download or use online.  Personally, I have never found these applications to be as easy, quick or capable as Moment of Inspiration (MOI).  That is why we use Moment of Inspiration in our classes with at-risk elementary and high school children.

Currently,  MOI costs $295 for non-students and $88 for educators and students.  While my experience tells me that's a great deal, I know that for someone just beginning to explore 3D printing, that can appear to be a bit hard on the budget when free applications are available.

So, I am going to explore one of the free applications to see if I can find one that is suitable to get you started;  When I create a tutorial or demonstration, I will try to use both the free application and MOI to accomplish the same thing.  That way you can get a realistic idea about the relative capabilities of the software.  It may be that the free application will be easy enough and capable enough.  I don't know because it was years ago when I first looked at the free offerings.  The free offerings may have improved dramatically in the intervening years.  I need to take another look.

One of the benefits of this approach is that at least on some level, I will also be a newbie.  And, so my struggles will be much the same as your own.  And, I hope that, too, will be helpful.

The 3D Printer Quandary

I would rather you have ANY 3D printer than not have one.  But, right now, having had years of experience with many different makes and models, this blog will be focused on 3D printers made by M3D.  There is a reason for that.  My interests are 3D printing in the home and 3D printing in education.  I am not interested in fiddling around with a 3D printer.  I'm interested in using it.

I have chosen to use M3D's 3D printers because they are designed to minimize the need for tweaking, etc.  In this regard, the upcoming Pro promises to be astoundingly easy to use.  But, 3D printers aren't microwave ovens.  Since we can use a variety of materials and conceive of a variety of designs, there is always going to be some need to understand the limitations and demands of this tool.

This sometimes will mean addressing topics that may be beyond the understanding of many readers at that point in their experience.  And, when that happens, I want you to let me know so that we can go back and re-communicate the information in a way that is more useful to you.

I cannot emphasize how valuable this feedback will be.  One of my favorite students was a young woman named Vela.  She would raise her hand and say, "Mr Meeks.  I have a situation."  That, of course, meant, "Mr. Meeks, what in the WORLD are you talking about?  You have completely lost me!!!"

Not only was her willingness to let me know she was lost helpful to her.  But, it was helpful to me and every other person in the class.  I cannot thank her enough for how she shaped the curriculum that has helped so many other at-risk cadets and young people.  And, it is the first story that I tell to each new class.  It brings to mind a phrase I learned in college 50 years ago from an educator that I greatly admire.
"Where there is no learning, there has been no teaching."
                                               Dr. Wesley R. Willis.
And, that is also true of blogs.  :)


  1. Tom;

    I finally found where you are hanging out now! Whit and wisdom are back!

    I will be checking in on a regular basis as I did with the old Cubify site and of course contributing where I can.

    My XTC-3D tests went beyond my expectations and the use of the the INF material gave me the ability to produce prints the way I wanted them. I still have a Cube3 and have added a couple of others as well. The M3D looks promising - but who knows, bigger may be better for my next device.

    In the meantime keep on keeping on.


    1. M3D is going in that direction as well with the 15.3"x15.3"15.3" ProMega! We snapped one up right away as soon as it was announced.

  2. Hi Wade, Happy to have you aboard. Perhaps where we will have the most fun is in combining different materials as we come across them. I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with PolySmooth right now and while I published a short piece on it in the CubufyFans blog, I will be covering it more extensively here.

    Great to hear from you!