We <3 the MakerBot Operators: Tony Buser (Pennsylvania, USA)
I first learned about Tony after using the great projects he has uploaded to Thingiverse — in particular, OpenSCAD projects such as the OpenSCAD Bitmap Fonts Module and OpenSCAD Height Map. More recently, I posted an amusing tweet from Tony in which he declared his love for his MakerBot Stepstruder. Well, I reached out to him for a follow-up interview.
Thingiview grew out of CloudSCAD. When I started CloudSCAD I was surprised that there were really no good or easy open source web based model viewers, so I had to write my own. I thought the way I made the object viewer for CloudSCAD would be useful to other people so I made it it’s own project and put it on github when Zach asked me to make it so that Thingiverse could use it.
Tony continues to develop CloudSCAD, though he has been distracted from it by other recent projects. One of his latest projects: working with a fellow member of his hackerspace to help him create a laser target scanner: a positioning system to be mounted on a Roomba platform.
Basically, the idea is to use a spinning mirror turret that uses a laser pointer and photo diodes to find the location of reflectors in the room in order to triangulate the Roomba’s position. He’s designing it and doing all the CAD work and I’m helping him learn how to design parts to be printed and making the prototypes on my Thing-o-Matic.
It’s been a good test for the ToM and Stepstruder because he’s still learning the limitations of the MakerBot so some of his designs have very small and tall thin structures that are really only possible to be printed using a stepper driven extruder.
Tony has also been working as a technical reviewer for a book on 3D printing called Printing in Plastic due out later this spring. As a result, he’s knee deep in the build documentation for the plywood RepStrap printer, WhiteAnt.
More of our interview, after the fold!
MakerBot Operators MicroInterview
Q: What brought you to 3D printing/MakerBot?
I had been following the RepRap project for a number of years, but as a programmer who barely knew how to use a soldering iron at the time, building one always seemed too hard. Then one day I distinctly remember Bre’s Weekend Project video where he planned to do a series of videos showing how to make a RepStrap and I thought — ok, I’m going to follow along and finally make one. So I started learning electronics and tinkering. I never did end up making that RepStrap, however along came MakerBot.
After months of me talking about it, in November 2009, my wife got me the best birthday present ever – Makerbot #481! I now have a Cupcake, a Thing-o-Matic, a RepRap Mendel, and I’m working on a wooden RepStrap/CNC machine. Yes, I have four 3D printers in my basement and no, I don’t get much sleep anymore.
Q: What is your favorite thing you have printed so far?
My favorite thing definitely has to be my RepRap Mendel. What could be more awesome to print with a 3D printer than more 3D printers?!
I also occasionally sell RepRap parts which has pretty much paid for my Cupcake and most of my Mendel. I’ve sold tons of wade extruders on ebay. So many that between my wife and I, extruders have almost become a unit of measure. Whenever we want to buy something frivolous, we think — hmmm that will cost us 5 extruders — so we go to the basement and fire up the MakerBot.
Q: What object do you most want to design (or download from Thingiverse.com)?
One of these days I have to print Skimbal’s Gothic Cathedral. I just never seem to find the time to devote to it. There’s never enough time in a day. I might need to print some more printers and increase my capacity. Unfortunately, I can’t (yet) print more copies of myself.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Below I share a few of my favorite Tony Buser models up at Thingiverse!
If you have a great story to tell or know of someone we should feature here, drop us a message to support at makerbot dot com, subject line: MakerBot Operator Hero!
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