Last weekend, we took TheLab.ms's 3D-printing setup on the road! We hauled our friend badger1--one of our FlashForge Creator Pro printers--out to the Let's Play Gaming Expo. The drive was a short one, because the Plano Centre is only a few miles away. We had a great time, and we had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people that are close to our Education Center.
We gave away a pile of 3D-printed stuff: translucent Pac-Man, Space Invader, and 1-Up Mushrooms, as well as our 3D-printed cell phone kickstands. These were all quick and easy prints. We knew we needed to print something big, fun, and interesting while at our booth.
We decided to print the Thinking Trooper from Thingiverse.com. One of our members printed this shortly after we set up the 3D printers at TheLab.ms, so I had a lot of confidence in the print job, and we've made a lot of progress dialing in the settings on our printers. This was a great opportunity to see just how far we've come, since we had the first Thinking Trooper on display at TheLab.ms.
Running a print job for ourselves is pretty boring. We decided it would be much more fun to give this guy away. We'll be choosing a winner in a few days. We're being a bit selfish here--we want to show off how nice the Thinking Trooper turned out before we let it go!
We didn't want to print the Thinking Trooper two days in a row, and I was having a lot of trouble deciding on a fun print for the second day.
As it just so happens, I didn't have to come up with an idea. Steve from PolyKnight Games stopped by our booth early on Saturday morning, and asked if we could 3D print something from their upcoming game, Innerspace. Needless to say, we all thought this was an awesome idea!
We had to go back and forth a few times to get a model that Slic3r wasn't too angry about. I was more than a little worried that the model would print poorly, and we had some scary issues with the support structures in the early parts of the print, but it worked out better than any of us had hoped!
We didn't fully understand the proportions of the object. We wanted the print to take about half of the day, and we scaled the model up accordingly. It ended up being about three inches tall, and it only took about three hours to print.
If we'd given it a bit more thought, we would have made it even bigger. The failing support material had me worried about the model's arms, but they printed quite nicely. The fingers were a bit small, though, but they came out surprisingly well. If we scaled up the print by 20% or so, I bet they would have come out perfectly!
The white ABS filament is quite difficult to photograph, especially when the model has fine details. The best shot I took was from before we removed the support material. The shots I took later were almost completely washed out. At least I got some nice photos of the Thinking Trooper!
We also ran into our friends at Lost Our Box. They were busy showing off Burning Sky, the new virtual reality game they've been working on. I didn't get a chance to play--there was a crowd at their booth every time I managed to sneak away from our table--but I'm not worried. They've been getting together at TheLab.ms to work on their game, and they assured me that I'd get a chance to try it out in the near future!
I may not have gotten to try, but our good friend Tommy Trebuchet--the guy behind our most excellent SlingFest event--got a chance to try, and so did his daughter. Watching Kara experience VR for the first time was a hoot!
Tommy asked us to take a picture. I'm so glad we took a video instead, because it was so much fun to watch. She immediately started looking around, and she was checking out the ceiling and the floor. Eventually, though, she decided that she just had to walk around in that virtual space, and she walked directly into her father!
We all had a great time at the Let's Play Gaming Expo, and we can hardly wait to go back next year!