First a little background is probably in order. I’m a musician for a living and only dabble in 3D design for stress relief in my spare time. I enjoy trying to make the image in my head become something more tangible, and more shareable. I am also an avid toy collector ( much to the dismay of my wife), and collect various brands of action figures like G.I. Joe, Transformers and He-Man. Essentially the toys I grew up with.
My first love for 3d design came from wanting to make my own video games when I was a kid. Heck what gamer doesn’t. I set myself on a path to gain the education necessary to work in the video game industry. First from the programming side of things, then later the design side. After achieving degrees in both computer programming and video game design, I ended up getting a job as a PHP developer, building and designing websites. I never really enjoyed the web design or programming end of things and never found it to be fulfilling. I guess fate intervened in 2009 when I was let go from the company I was working for when they outsourced my job. My first professional love is and always will be music, so I sunk myself fully into my music career at that point, and am proud to say I comfortably make my living playing music in Nashville, TN.
I had nearly put everything from the technical and design part of my life behind me. Then one day someone on one of the toy collecting forums I browse posted a 3d printed item they had designed to accompany their collection. That piqued my curiosity about 3d printing, which of course led me to google it which in turn led me to YouTube.
On YouTube I started watching some amazing videos from some 3D Printing Evangelists (it’s a thing), guys like Joel Telling (3D Printing Nerd), Thomas Sanladerer, and Angus (Maker’s Muse) and others. In watching their videos I felt inspired that this is something I believe I can do. At the same time I didn’t have interest in going to Thingiverse and filling my house with 3D Benchies and low poly Pokemon models. I wanted to design and print my own stuff. With that in mind, I do not yet own a 3D printer since I figured there was no point until I had something to print. If I would ever be able to get to that point.
So, I went to fire up 3DS Max which I used when I got my Video Game Design degree and actually on occasion in web design. My old copy of 3DS Max just would not work on my current computer, I don’t know if it was too outdated or what, and being a musician for a living there was no way I was shelling out the money to buy a current version. So I went to google to see what low cost options may be out there. By far the most popular result was Blender as it’s open source and free to download. I downloaded and ran it and on top of nearly 9 years of not using any 3d software rust, was the learning curve for the interface which varies drastically from what I had used. My first few attempts to use it left me frustrated and produced nothing useable. So, I decided I would do what I’ve always done and do a little research and see if I could figure out how to use it. Following along with a few tutorials got me the basic handle of the program and allowed me to start fleshing out something I actually kinda liked. The result was the jeep I attached in the picture above.
When I was pretty happy with my first model, I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could make multiple designs that shared basic parts with this one, and would allow printing the pieces desired to create numerous configurations of the design.
Next came the desire to modify it into a hard top version and put a turret on the back. Also in the website gallery you can see I made further iterations with a 4 door, limo and truck versions. With each passing session sitting in front of my computer I feel more confident with the user interface and learn what pitfalls to avoid in the design.
I decided then to start a fresh design and made a futuristic big truck, along the way I figured out some better ways to make some of the joints and hinges for the model and will ultimately go back and redesign some things in the jeep to use similar methods.
Anyhow I know, TL;DR. In summary I’m sure I will have to further alter my designs once I get a printer to test them since things that look ok on my screen may not work great on an FDM style printer. I’m creating this blog to share my progress as well as things I learn along the way, I know it will be a journey of a thousand miles and I’ve made but one step.
Hopefully in the coming months I will be sharing the unboxing/build of my first 3D printer, followed closely with print/iterate/print again process on my designs. I hope you will join me, teach me and learn with me.