the Micro 3D Printer – my first impressions

On Wednesday 4/22 I received the Micro 3d Printer, via pledge from their Kickstarter last year.  I’m not an expert in 3d printing but did want to provide my first impression because I was amazed at the out-of-the box readiness of the printer. I have tinkered before with a rep-rap MakerFarm design 3D printing (slightly larger scale printer) but have found the heating bed to the biggest obstacle (i.e., getting the print object to stick to the bed – tape, hairspray, etc. nothing is consistently working). Again, I haven’t spent nearly enough time to be an expert and if I did, I’d probably solve the heating bed issue.

For the Micro 3D Printer, I wanted something that easily worked in every aspect (extruder, bed, software). Let someone with better skills build and manage it and figure it all out! Just let me print! So get this:  I began printing the first item about 15 minutes after opening the box. I purposely did not do any calibration, going instead with the default settings after loading the filament. The video below, not mine but created by one of the founders of M3D, shows the steps I followed.

The software that M3D offers is fine (I don’t have experience with a lot of 3D software except for the open source software for the maker farm printer I have (arduino? it’s pretty solid but not as user friend). I haven’t explored the M3D enough to properly review. It seems pretty straight forward with advanced features for the brave. I did find that after I load the STL file, I’m not seeing the image in the window (it’s there, and it’s ready to print, but with other software I’ve been able to see approximate size and how it’s going to print. I’m sure it’s possible (again, I haven’t ready any manuals, or had that much time to explore the software). Otherwise, the prompts in switching out the plastic are very helpful.

Note: for this 3d Printer set up, I’m running a Dell laptop with Windows 7 – no issues seeing the printer although two of my USB ports seemed to not be communicating – a third USB has worked just fine.

I printed a little pac man ghost keychain:

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This took about 1 hour, 20 minutes to print.
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The printer is about 8 inches wide and 8 inches deep and about 10 inches high. The print bed looks to be about 5 inches x 5 inches (I’m sure the exact measurements are on the M3D site)

Several things that stand out.

1. First, as a Kickstarter item, the price is right ($249 or $299 is what I think I paid – the price for filament rolls is fair, as well. One roll was included in the kickstarter). If the printer holds up as I expect, and performs as advertise, I will be very happy.

2. The printer was securely packaged and shipped (a box within a box – there seemed to be no shifting).  The makers used some foam, some clips and tape to keep the printer still during transit).

3. The design of the printer is slick, simple, easy access to the bed. I have the black-framed printer. I particularly like the printer name lit up while it’s powered on (there is no power on/off switch – just plug in the power adapter and USB cable and printer will communicate to laptop). There are only a couple of cables (power adapter which could be longer, USB cable (long enough) and the wiring leading to the extruder.  I was able to pull off  my first 3D print easily. The starting layer was a little tougher but I’d rather have that than a non-sticky heating bed.

4. I don’t have a spool to hold the filament but I would recommend printing the attachment asap. I believe these STL files are easily findable on the M3D site and elsewhere.  During my first print last night, I found the filament can get easily tangled as it comes off the spool (I’ve since found a temporary solution). NOTE: You can also set the filament in the base of the printer for a cleaner, more organized look; I think I’ll remain in the external filament camp as it’s fewer steps in switching out different filaments.

5. Remember, the print bed is small. From one I comment I read, it’s too small to print a smart phone case, for example.  This printer is for smaller 3d print items.

I may post again later as I print more items and explore the software more thoroughly. There are plenty of better reviews and videos out there but count me as someone who is glad to have supported M3D.

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Forget the Google Phone ‘Android’ – check out the Ask Jeeves Phone!!

The Ask Jeeves phone is due to arrive in 2015.
The Ask Jeeves phone is due to arrive in 2015. (photoshopped by a blind monkey)

When I’m not ‘blogging’ about made-up stuff, I’m searching the globe for state-of-the-art technology. A lot of people are looking forward to the Google Phone, but I say, why have Google when you can have Jeeves? The Ask Jeeves phone hits the market in just 7 short years. Get in line, folks!

SEVERAL REASONS the ASK JEEVES PHONE RANKS ABOVE the GOOGLE PHONE:

-The Ask Jeeves phone will be touch screen on EVERY side of the phone, with fingers or tongue. That means you can dial your friends by licking the side of the phone.

-You can name your phone whatever you want. No stupid “Android” associated with it. I am going to call my phone “Jeeves” – it’s just a name that came to mind.

-The phone will replace “Please Say A Command” audio direction with “Please Say A Command Five Times Before I Can Understand It!”

Remember – 2015. The Ask Jeeves phone. The future is here, in 2015.

Laura Bush Unveils new 3000 model of Cindy McCain robot

At the Republican National Convention, First Lady Laura Bush introduced to the world the latest in robotic science when she introduced the stylish Cindy McCain 3000. Outfitted in gold silk, the CM3K approached the podium, waving to the adoring crowd.

Laura Bush guides the Cindy McCain 3000 robot to the podium
Laura Bush guides the Cindy McCain 3000 robot to the podium

Fluent in only English and several Spanish words, the Cindy McCain 3000 robot has a 1TB hard-drive and 5 gb dual-processors, as well as audio and video processors allowing for basic communication and movement.

“I am very proud of my country,” and “Please welcome, John McCain” are two of 40,000 phrases programmed into the robot, which costs an estimated $23.5 million dollars. An ATM installed above the spleen allows CM3K owners to withdraw money in 10 different currencies, with no option for deposit.

The Cindy McCain 3000 promises to be an improvement over some of the earlier versions, including the original Cindy McCain98, which ran on Windows and was perceived as too severe.

Released in 1998, the Cindy McCain98 robot failed to meet expectations
Released in 1998, the Cindy McCain98 robot failed to meet expectations

UPDATE HERE on robot inspiration for CM3k.