Today I would like to tell you about my husband. We’ve been married for 11 years. In fact, today marks the day we started dating, 16 years ago. He’s 5’11” but likes to say he’s 6 foot. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and wears glasses. He sticks his tongue out when he concentrates. He calls this “The Tongue of Dexterity.” His father does it as well. When fine motor skills are needed the, the tongue appears. My wonderful husband is an electrical engineer or an EE. He is one of those engineers that continues to engineer things after work, at home. Not for work. No, for himself. And I love that he has a hobby. Though it can be an expensive hobby. You know that stereotype that the wife spends all the money? Not in my house. And most of the things he builds at home don’t have much of a purpose other than amusing my EE. Luckily, he does a ton of research before he buys anything. Watches YouTube videos, reads blogs and forums, and talks about the upcoming project for days. Did I say days? I meant weeks. No maybe months. The more expensive it is the longer it takes for him to talk himself into buying into a new project. And if it’s a long-term project I get to hear about it for years. Do you know how long Bitcoin has been around? I don’t. I stopped paying attention to that conversation years ago.
This month my EE bought a 3D printer. That’s right, he bought a printer that prints 3D plastic objects. Honestly, he’s been talking about buying this off and on for years. This year after more research he made the plunge. And in my opinion if you spend over 100 dollars you are taking a plunge. (Really 50 dollars, but I don’t want to seem cheap. I’m cheap.) And so the printer from the Czech Republic showed up a few weeks later. In many boxes.
Did you know that you can buy a 3D printer in two ways? You can buy it pre-built or as a kit? I did not. Hence the multiple boxes. My EE bought this printer as a kit, saving money, but he had to assemble it himself. It took him three days to build the printer on the kitchen table, of course. The new kitchen table. Don’t scratch the table. I have a 4-year-old. And an EE. That table is doomed. My beautiful table.
Really it took two four-hour sessions to build the frame. The third part-day was used to hook up all the wires and dress them out so they don’t interfere with the printing process. See it working here.
He struggled a bit with the electrical part of the build which I found amusing. The Tongue of Dexterity made an appearance and he made jokes to himself like “Where’s the N axis? It’s not an N axis, it’s the Z axis. Ah ha ha.” So honestly, it’s great fun for me. And hopefully I’ll learn to use the software so I can print my own creations. Terrible blocky creations. And so far it’s been nothing but success. Of course, he hasn’t actually designed anything himself. There is a large collection of pre-designed files that you can download. So, the next big adventure will be designing his own prints. And of all the hobbies he’s had I do believe this one may have the most usefulness, bar the time he installed smart light switches all over the house. Sure, he didn’t get to solder anything together or map out a circuit board, but I do believe this may be my favorite project of his. So I don’t think I can give him a hard time about it. Though I might, considering the number of Lego style crystals he’s printed in less than two weeks. Our Lego mini-figures are now rich, drowning in crystals. I wonder if they make a Scrooge McDuck mini-figure.
All new prints are approved by our 4-year-old. He approves of anything. He checks the prints before going to bed, waking up, and when he gets home from daycare. And all prints take so long that they print overnight in the room above my bedroom. The first few nights I thought the 4-year-old was running down the stairs at random intervals. The cats have stopped sleeping in the room where the printer is housed, which in the long run is good. The printer melts plastic and we don’t want it melting the cats. And I hope my EE doesn’t melt himself in the process of learning everything there is to know about the Prusa 3D Printer. So, if anyone needs Lego crystals of various sizes let me know. I’m sure the 4-year-old will be able to set that up for you.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Adventures of an EE: Muon to something.