Q & A with Chris
Where were you born, and where do you live now?
I was born in Sydney, but now live about an hour north on the Central Coast
I heard you have a degree in Geology, how did you get into 3D printing?
Yes, I do. I worked as a geological consultant for nearly 25 years. When my daughter started school 11 years ago, I started volunteering at her primary school running science clubs and workshops. A few years ago, I saw a YouTube video showing a kit-built 3D printer. I was blown away and approached the school to see if we could build one. The students made their first 3D printer in 2017, and now they have 8! I still volunteer at the school, but now it’s in 3D design and printing.
How long have you been running your 3D print service?
We started running our 3D print service in February 2018 after many people told us we should sell the stuff we print. Since then it’s been non-stop.
You must have done some interesting prints over the years, can you list a few of them for us?
I’ve built (and still do) the electronics chassis that go in light sabres for the Sons of Obiwan Light Saber Academy. I’ve designed and printed a vent grill for a racing car as well as a corset for a woman’s costume. And I’ve printed the parts for a scale model of the Australian Navy’s new guided-missile destroyer the HMAS Hobart III. I printed it using Monocure 3D Rapid Resin, it was constructed and painted by Cutting Edge Models, and it now resides in the Captain’s ready room on the HMAS Hobart III. I also printed and painted 100 army helmets for teddy bears for the Australian War Memorial.
What’s your favourite, go-to FDM printer?
My Anycubic i3 Mega. It just goes. And it can produce as nice prints as I’ve seen anywhere.
What software do you use for 3D modelling?
I use Autodesk’s Fusion 360 for modelling.
What software do you use for slicing FDM models?
I use a range of slicing software to suit my needs, but my main one is Simplify3D.
You helped us test our new filament range, why were you so impressed with them?
I’ve used a lot of different brands of filament from cheap to expensive. Each has it’s use and requires some tweaking to get it to print nicely, especially the cheaper ones. But the Monocure filaments print easily right out of the box. The matte black PLA looks gorgeous as does the marble effect and the PETG is one of the easiest PETG filaments I’ve printed with.
Do you have a favourite Monocure 3D filament?
It’s a tie between the matte black and the marble effect PLAs.
Tell us about your post-processing process; how do you finish the FDM models?
Depending on its final use my post-processing can range from merely removing supports and giving it a quick clean up to remove the odd blob from the surface, to coating the entire piece in Smooth-On’s XTC3D epoxy resin then sanding down to a smooth finish and painting.
Can you tell us a bit about the courses you hold in schools?
Since starting with that first printer at our local primary school, I now run Teacher Professional Learning classes in 3D printing and 3D design using Fusion 360. I also help teach lessons in 3D design using Fusion 360 to students. I’ve taught students as young as eight years old as well as students with learning disabilities from the support unit and multi-cat classes to design in Fusion 360.
What advice can you give someone who is thinking about getting into 3D printing?
Buying a kit printer and building it yourself is an excellent way for anyone to get into 3D printing. Not only do you have the satisfaction of building it yourself, but you learn how the printer works, which means when the filament clogs or a part wears out or breaks, you can fix it quickly. Also, read a lot and watch a lot of YouTube videos on 3D printing. The 3D Printing Nerd is a top YouTuber to watch for cool and inspiring 3D printing videos.
When you are not 3D printing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
If I happen to get some spare time, I’ll go fly fishing here on the Central Coast. I am in the process of 3D printing a fully functioning reel to go on my fishing rod. I also do a lot of cosplay with my daughter.
Where do you think 3D printing will be in 20 years from now?
I’d like to see 3D printing making significant inroads into recycling. Imagine all of your food packaging going into a device that turns it into filament, and then you print out a replacement handle for that broken mug or a part for something you need, maybe even a new pair of shoes!
Please feel free to like Chris’s Facebook page, check out his website or if you want anything printed you can fill in your details on our print service form.
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