I broke the 3d printer

3d printing, failure

Mar 2017

Two weeks ago at the MCSM Modelbauclub, I broke the 3D printer. Well, I damaged the printing plate by messing up the calibration of the printing head. Luckily, last week we could repair the damage, but it took some time.

It is no surprise hat with hardware things can break, with software you can just restart the computer. This makes the feeling of developing hardware a bit different from the software development experience. For hardware, gaining a feeling for a construction beforehand is important. There is no such concept as test-driven development.

The outcome of a construction depends on the preparation. Instead of starting the 3D print process without a feeling for the position of the 3D printing head, it would have been important to listen to another’s opinion. Or, to have some kind of picture of the position of pieces in space.

For large constructions, this can be done with simulation. Even for electronics and circuits simulation can avoid a lot of trial-and-error. Planning and preparation is also something German engineers are famous for. At MCSM, there are a number of retired engineers with many years of engineering experience. It is interesting to see how they have a feeling for a construction and patience to prepare a construction.

I guess experiences of failure like this with 3D printing are important to deal with for engineers and technologists. We often blame someone else or some circumstances when things break or don’t work. In these cases, it is always nice to hear people such as Jack Ma founder of Alibaba explain how failure can help you grow as human.

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