This post is about the sun-dappled and frosty morning on which Amazon delivered the much anticipated Printrbot. I didn’t want to open the box without Jen there, so it sat on my dining room table until she got off work. We unpacked it immediately, but it was so foreign to us that we didn’t set it up right away.
It was toy-like with its wooden parts, streaked with some kind of burn marks, and it reminded me of a childhood Christmas present. (That’s how old I am… when I was a child they gave wood burning tools to 6 year olds.) We could identify metal rods, and some screws, and there was string that ran from end to end. This was the machine that was going to save the environment? This was the beginning of the 3rd industrial revolution?
We ate dinner with the Printrbot still on the table, and we eyed it suspiciously through desert. Even after a generous glass of wine we still weren’t comfortable with the contraption in front of us. Upon close examination, we simply could not tell how it worked.
Eventually we snapped open the laptops and got to business. We had done our homework, so that first night we were able to blindly plug other people’s numbers into the indecipherable software. When we were finished, we opened up Pronterface and we moved the hot end. We used Pronterface because we couldn’t get Repetier-host to work. I don’t know why, but once we got Pronterface to talk to the printer, Repetier-host never had any more problems.
In the early days of learning something, you have to hold yourself back from troubleshooting everything. There’s a sort of noobie-juju at work. Odd things happen and then never happen again. Example: the first time our friend Pam sat down at a computer, she threw away THE TRASH CAN. Noobie-juju.
Anyway, back to the printrbot’s hot end, which had just moved 1mm. It was thrilling. We made happy noises and clapped. We drank more wine. It seemed like magic because it really was…we had no idea what we had actually done. The little machine worked, and our next step was to print a calibration cube.
Mesmerized, we watched the cube being built. Perfect yellow lines, straight as train tracks across Kansas, were laid down against deep blue painter’s tape. And for the first time, we heard the printrbots’ mellifluous singing.
I think the music the Printrbot makes is one of the best things about it… I wish someone would write an orchestral piece based on the singing Printrbot.
We didn’t speak the entire time the cube was being built, and our eyes never left the bed. Now that I’ve had more time to surf the interwebz and read about other people’s first prints, I realize how fortunate we were to have such a lovely first experience. Many people don’t get satisfaction for quite a while, and their early works look like melted spaghetti.
We didn’t actually use that cube to calibrate. We didn’t have a calipers. But our square looked so heavenly that we were just sure that our machine was perfectly calibrated.
You can’t see me right now, but I am chuckling over my keyboard at that last sentence. I know what happens next…..