First things first

The printer we bought is a FlashForge Dreamer. We originally intended to buy a less expensive printer but didn’t know enough to make a sensible choice until we stumbled across a company called Box. There are very few places where you can actually see printers in action and ask questions so we took a trip to Solihull. It was well worth it because they had several printers on display and they gave lots of good advice.

We opted for the Dreamer for two main reasons – (a) it is completely enclosed so is not affected by fluctuations in temperature and (b) it has two extruders so you can use two colours in one model.

The first thing we made was from one of the sample files that came with the printer.

The second was a simple name plate using the software that came with the printer. It was little more than ‘drag and drop’. This, and using other people’s files, seemed like cheating.

There are several free CAD programs. Some of them have to be used online which I find inconvenient. There are various others to download so we tried a few and settled on trying to learn FreeCAD. They all have a steep learning curve so it seemed sensible to plump for one and stick with it.

Ben arrived just before New Year and was making glove puppets (Don’t ask!). One of them needed a pair of glasses so Ben and Steve set about designing them. There’s nothing like jumping in at the deep end. They took most of a day. The glasses were tiny, they had to fit, the design was intricate, and the arms had to stick up at the correct angle. The glasses in the photo are the second attempt at printing and, although they are not completely smooth, they look good.

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