3D Printing at the Exchange!



Want a 3D digital experience without the need for pesky glasses? Why not just interact with your digital creation in Real Life™ – the way that nature intended height, width, and depth to be exeperienced!


That’s right people! Though we have been talking to folks for a while now about how a 3D printer would be arriving any day now, the time has arrived! The future is now, and it smells like translucent plastic filament. Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the Exchange team: Deckard, the MakerBot Replicator (5th Gen).


The MakerBot Replicator, fully assembled and powered on in the Exchange


Let’s tell you a bit of a long-winded story (that in no way help you through your day, but may be entertaining to a certain segment of our readers) about our unpacking of Deckard, and process of printing our first test item (an iPhone case).

Our first bit of excitement was in the arrival of the MakerBot box to our humble facility. Here, you see Jon setting Deckard free from his confines.

Jon Weaver unboxing MakerBot in the Exchange


Our brawny, and fearless leader Justin undertook the hernia-inducing task of removing Deckard from his box, to his new home.  unboxing the MakerBot


Because we like photo-editing, of course we had to take a shot of the innards of the machine with some filters and color effects.

a look inside the build area of the MakerBot Replicator

We had heard that 3D printers were notoriously finicky and prone to problems, so we spent considerable amounts of time verifying that we were properly following the set up instructions, as well as researching common problems in set up on the web. Here, most of the team helps in the effort to put blue tape on the build platform.

Exchange team members ensure quality from the beginning of our 3D print experience

Once properly set up, the build plate was inserted into the printer and ready for the leveling process.

Chad Marchong adds the build plate to the MakerBot Replicator

Again, who doesn’t love some tilt-shift photo effects. blurry, right?

a shot of the MakerBot logo on the Replicator

After installing MakerBot software on our computers, customizing the design of an iPhone 5 case, and sending the design to the Replicator, we were ready to print – notice the 1:30:50 time frame for a measly phone case. Speaking of – though there are no fumes that we could detect, this thing definitely sounds more like a 1990’s dot matrix printer than it does a whisper on the wind. I wouldn’t call it loud exactly, but it’s certainly not quiet.

MakerBot Replicator screen, waiting for print to begin

Deckard starts working on his first test project.

MakerBot Replicator in first test print, 5% complete


Deckard in action, from above the Replicator.

overhead view of Replicator printing its first item

Jon and Monique look on in anticipation.

Exchange staff wonder if the first print item will burn their fingers off if they touch it

Once complete, the first item is taken on a triumphant parade to Justin’s office.

Jon and Monique bring the first test print to Justin

Justin approves, lavishing praise on the newly designed and created item.

Justin amazed that you don't need special glasses to get the 3D effect

So, seriously though, it’s really hard to remove these items (we’ve heard using hairspray on the build surface is the best bet). Monique was the first, but not the last person to attempt to remove the case from the build plate.

Monique becomes only the first person in the Exchange to wonder how to remove the test print without breaking it

Chad takes a call, safe knowing that the phone in his hand will not break….

the first test print, an iPhone case, seen in action, protecting an iPhone as Chad Marchong talks on it

except that, well, we kind of broke the case while removing it from the build plate (rookie mistake).

iPhone case, on iPhone


Are you interested in printing out a 3D item for one of your classes? Do you want to share a story about how printing your design could help your instructional aims? Shoot us an email and let’s work together on making sure that we can assist you in your 3D printing goals.


Posted in At The CII, The Exchange
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