A friend invited me to visit the Tech Shop in San Jose. She had a membership and I was wanting to play with 3D printing.
It’s a makers paradise. They have many different types of machines you can use. They offer a variety of classes for both kids and adults. There are other Tech Shop locations across the U.S.
You have to take a safety class before you can operate a particular machine. There’s everything from woodworking, vacuum sealing, molding, laser cutters, large printers, etc. Your imagination is the limit.
We brought our designs on a flash drive and it turns out the 3D printer reads SD cards only. The front desk had a card reader we could borrow. We had reserved a 4-hour window in advance to work on the printer.
Using one of the computers available, we opened the STL file using a program called Cura. We then transferred it over to the SD card for the printer to read. There’s a help desk at the Tech Shop. At one point we were stuck on how to set-up the printer and one of the guys there were very friendly and happy to help us out.
We used the raw material from the Tech Shop since we didn’t have our own. They weighed the roll before and after to determine how much we needed to pay at the end.
We started by trying to print Jabba the Hut. Here’s the link to the free downloadable file. Cura told us that it was going to take 7.5 hours to print the design with its original dimensions. We didn’t have that amount of time, so we played with the dimensions and shrunk it to where it only took 7 minutes to print.
The problem was that the design was so small that it lost a lot of the detail in the head and arms.