At the June meeting of the Nova Labs 3D printing group in Reston, VA, I noticed two makers working intently on a 3D printer build. They worked closely together for close to two hours. I waited for them to take a break so I could talk to this father-son duo about their 3D printer but they were focused on the build the entire time and I didn’t want to interrupt.
I was able to get in touch with Spencer and Jason via the Nova Labs mailing list and ask them about their build.
Spencer: The Son
-Tell us about yourself.
I’m going into 8th grade in the fall and will be 13 in September. Some of my interests are electrical engineering, 3D printing, woodworking, and hacking things into better things.
-Is this your first printer or are you two 3D printing veterans?
This is our first printer with a fantastic experience of learning and enjoyment. We started the project when school got out and have learned what every piece and part our printer does. Although with a few minor mistakes it has gone very smoothly with the support of the Monday and Tuesday night group meetings at Nova Labs.
-What projects are you planning to print?
A project I am interested in is the inMoov 3d printed humanoid which I was introduced to by a guy at Nova Labs who was at one of the meetings in January.
–What printer are you building and why did you join this build group?
T-MAX 2.0 and why we joined was because we wanted something new and exciting features that many printers don’t have. It was also a good leap for participating the the “maker movement” which really interested me.
-What is it like building a printer as a father/son team?
Good question, it has been very enjoyable and fast paced with only a few hiccups but it has been fun because we both have ownership. We both found some new skills to apply to other projects and innovative ways to solve some slight issues that we had. It forced us to research about the individual pieces and know how they work.
Jason: The Father
-Spencer and I like to fly RC planes, helps, quads, etc. We wanted to modify some parts, but were looking at 3D printers as a way to design our own mods. We wanted to convert one of our planes to a brushless motor, but that required new mounting blocks which we can print from thingiverse.
-Spencer is interested in the arduino and electronics, so it was hard for me to argue when he asked to build a 3D printer from scratch. I don’t know of many 12 years olds who would otherwise be exposed to thermistors, ramps boards, etc. I thought it would be a good experience and educational opportunity for both of us.
-Spencer is going into 8th grade and I am 43. I am a federal financial consultant working for Deloitte. I enjoy woodworking and grilling.
-As for the father/son build itself: I have enjoyed working with Spencer in building this. Both of us are learning a lot. Almost everything in the build he can do (although I did work the thermistors since they were very delicate). He jumps at the chance to solder. He really enjoys talking to the adults at Nova Labs and asking them questions and seeking recommendations on the steps. Everyone there has been fantastic support!
-This has been a great project for building self-esteem and knowledge. We hope to get it completed within the next week.