Welcome to 3D Printing

Welcome to the exciting world of 3D Printing.

The first 3D Printer I bought turned me into Alice. Actually, it wasn’t the printer, it was the first print. The very first print was the test print Owl that came with 3D Printer. It was an owl, a very simple owl. My boy loved it. Even though he broke it within two days. I immediately started printing things for Ben. T-rex’s, owls, airplanes. Eventually, my daughter, Eva, wanted me to print her things. So, naturally I did. Getting to a point where I wasn’t able to print anything for myself.

Enter the second printer. This one was slightly more advanced. Offering a heated bed, more efficient printing and ability to print other materials, like wood PLA. While I haven’t printed PLA, it seems incredibly interesting.

Now, I’m no expert in fixing things, but I do tinker. So, when I had an issue with my first printer, I took it apart. During that process, I broke the thermistor. Which, essentially, is used as the thermometer. But, it’s so much more than that. It detects spikes in the temperature as well as whether or not the heating cartridge is heating up the heater block. Suffice to say, it’s important. After a few days of messing with it and some worrisome errors, I decided that this printer would become spare parts.

I’m not going to lie, I was bummed. Back to one printer. Back to waiting for the kids prints to get done. Fortunately, I had already completed a job. A local fella was working with a mass producer on getting a Frisbee Golf holder to the market. Not a carrier, but a holder, a wall mount. Well great, never designed anything, not familiar with CAD. But hey, ‘fake it ’till you make it’ right? I went through about a dozen designs at various sizes. Just trying to get the sizing correct was a pain.

3D Printers have a certain print size. My printers have a print size of 220mm x 220mm. The disc that was given to me had a diameter of 220mm. Bet you can guess how well that was going to work. Once I had the design down, I cut it in half. making pegs for each half to connect together. Brilliant right? The design was awesome, yet simple. But, I had one problem. It was too thin. Which meant the print was bowing and flexing during print. Causing all kinds of issues.

Eventually, I was able to get a successful print. A print successful enough that I could present it to the customer. And that’s what I did. I’m not entirely sure how he truly felt about it, but he paid. More than enough for me to buy a 3rd printer. Which is exactly what happened.

That was in early 2020. Things moved fast after that first printer. Printing things for my wife’s studio, printing trinkets, tools, mug holders, wallets, learning CAD, learning 3D Scanning. A lot happened. Honestly, I never really thought about starting a business 3d Printing. It wasn’t until I printed a lithophane for my wife that the thought ran across my brain. It wasn’t even my idea. It was my wife’s. Not only did she swoon, but she said, “You could sell those! They are wonderful!”.

So, I got to work. Refining my skills and gaining the knowledge necessary for creating the highest quality prints that I could. Printing every minute. Multiple prints of the same model, tweaking the settings. Changing the resolution here, a little less infill there. Saving the .gcode for every iteration. The process was daunting, but rewarding.

Once the models and colors were decided upon, I came up with a name, 3D Print Labs. Registered the business and the domain and off I went, creating the catalog, adding the e-commerce portion to web site. And now here we are, November 2021. Launching the site officially.

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this venture, and for you to come with me.

Nathan Stotts

Leave a Comment