My 3d printer is actually useful

 

I’ve been tinkering with 3d printers since 2007, when we made filament by heating and hand-rolling polycaprolactone. My first was a homemade Repstrap McWire. Later, I had a Darwin, Prusa Mendel, Tiny Boy, Flashforge Creator Pro, and Monoprice Maker Select. Now I'm using a Makergear M2, although lately I haven't used it much lately. The M2 is solid, but 3d printing hasn't advanced nearly as far as I'd imagined it would, 13 years ago. The M2 has sat idle for many months.

 

 

Yesterday, a friend who works at a nearby hospital messaged me. They have no masks - not even for the nurses who are doing COVID-19 testing. She found an old N95 mask in her basement and asked if I could print this shield for it, as the mask needs to last her until new ones arrive. So the M2 has been running all day, cranking out shields for her and coworkers. I'd nearly given up on this printer being anything but a toy. It's amazing to think there's a possibility it could actually save lives now.

 

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