The Caltech Techlab gives members of the Caltech community free access to 3D printing. It is located in the Sherman Fairchild Library, and any registered user can use it when the library is open. There are currently 4 working printers that can be used for personal projects, and additional printers that can be used for school-related projects.
To become a registered user, all you have to do is sign up for a training session. During the training session, you learn how to slice a model with computer software, set up the printer, change the filament (basically the color of your printed model), and more. You also get to print something of your choice! Typically, the printers are occupied 24/7 by people printing various items for school or for personal projects, so it’s a nice opportunity to get your first 3D print :)
I chose to print an oddish-shaped planter, since I have a bunch of plants in my apartment and always want more plants. Here are some photo of the 3D printer, the first layer of the print, and the finished product! This particular print took 14 hours to make.
There’s nothing inside the planter in this photo; it’s just next to the tree in my room for reference of what it would look like with a plant :) Unfortunately the left and right sides of the platform were at slightly different heights, and I didn’t notice this when watching the first layer of my print, so the front is a bit misaligned :( I also still need to sand the bottom of the planter, which is why there are some rough spots on the bottom.
It’s so cool to 3D print objects, and I definitely want to make more! I still need to make the little planter pan, so that will be my next project. Hopefully I can snag an open printer…they are really occupied all the time!