Hands on: Trying a 3D printer — a beginner’s tale

Getting a 3D printer in your office is a little like putting an exotic fish tank on your own desk — just about everyone drops by to discover what it’s all about.

Once they come to understand how a 3D printer functions the curiosity quickly wears off,. For others, everything you print remains an opportunity to marvel at a robotic mechanism that extrudes threads of hot plastic in hair-thin layers until an object emerges in the bottom up.

Over the past few months, I’ve experienced quite a couple of ups and downs — and had my first opportunity with a 3D printer. I printed more than a dozen items, from versions of Porsches and the Eiffel Tower to multi-part objects that snapped together, including a cool whistle and a Pteranodon (a big, prehistoric, flying reptile).


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