The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, Debtember 25, 2018

Printing beyond the bounds of two dimensions

I'm not a fan of printers.

My first printer was a daisy wheel printer that sounded like a machine gun when working. I only had two “wheels” (a cartridge with the character set splayed out in a wheel shape, hence the name), I think both where Courier, but one was 10 characters per inch, the other one 12 characters per inch. Despite the price, I think I used it for one term paper (high school) and for the humor column for the university paper (that is, when I wasn't frantically pounding out an article on my portable manual typewriter 20 minutes prior to the deadline, but that's another story). It was obnoxiously loud (Harley owners would complain of the noise) and obnoxiously large.

My second printer was an 80-column dot matrix that used fan-fold paper. It was quieter than my first printer (what wouldn't be?), a bit faster, and much less fuss as I didn't have to constantly feed paper into the thing. I used it a bit more than my first printer, but as time went on, I found myself using it less and less.

Printers ever since have been owned by significant others. Cheaper to buy, yes. More expensive to maintain as printer companies learned to charge outrageous sums for inks and toner cartridges and after a few scant years they just stop working. Horrible things in my opinion (I think we're on our fourth such printer at Chez Boca since I moved in over a decade ago). The only time I use them these days is to print out the tax forms once a year (and for those, I could go down to the library and pick up the proper forms).

So guess what I got for Christmas?

A printer.

But unlike the printers of the past, this is a freaking 3D printer!

Woo hoo!

I can print solid objects now!

My only complaint about the printer is the manual. Upon turning it on, it made a horrible noise (much like the sound of the Apple ][ disk drive as the head was moved to a known location) and the small screen on the unit gave an error number. The manual listed the symptom as “Y-axis movement abnormalities” and the action “check motor/sensor connection.” That's it! Nothing else about how to go about checking the motor or the sensor.

Sigh.

It turned out to be an easy fix (just force the “print head” forward all the way in the case—it had slipped a bit in shipping) and a few minutes later I was printing my first object (a plastic heart pendant for Bunny). It took about as long as expected (half an hour) and was a bit harder to remove from the printing platform than expected, but it works.

And judging by this video, it could prove to be useful to have around the workshop.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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