MakerBot Your Hobby: Aquariums

Posted by on Thursday, April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

There are two excellent posts from Shane Graber, or sgraber on Thingiverse, about using a MakerBot for your aquarium. The first of these is a general introduction to aquarium owners themselves as to why 3D printing can be useful for that hobby. I have to be honest, I had never thought about it, but Shane makes a pretty good case:

Picture this: It’s late Saturday night and you hear a noise coming from your fish room. Upon investigation, you find your return pump is buzzing loudly and not pumping water. “Huh? What’s going on here?!” You disassemble the pump and discover that an impeller blade has sheared off, and you don’t have a replacement on hand. … However, you are no ordinary hobbyist because you have a 3D printer at your disposal. You fire up your favorite modeling program and quickly model a replacement impeller then hit the [Print] button. The printer begins spitting out molten plastic.  15 minutes later you are fitting your replacement impeller in place and have saved yourself a lot of heartache and worry — and possibly the lives of many critters in your tank.

Well gosh, when you put it that way. Printing replacement parts is always a compelling reason to have a MakerBot at home. It’s even more compelling when it’s a matter of life and death!

Today Shane posted another great piece on Advanced Aquarist about 3D printing parts for the entire process of fragging and propagating coral in your aquarium. I know what you’re thinking: if only that previous sentence had more ‘p’ and ‘r’ sounds. I’ll try harder.

The post is a great tutorial in fragging, showing you different kinds of plugs you could use and why, and explaining that for parts you want to sink in saltwater, PLA is a better option than ABS. Shane printed all these parts on his Cupcake CNC, including the coral frag plugs that he designed, and they look fantastic. It’s also so interesting to hear about this application of 3D printing that I had never considered.

What is your hobby? How much of what you do for that hobby could be printed on a MakerBot?


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4 Comments so far

  • Brad Pitcher
    April 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Guys. It makes me sad whenever you use the word “MakerBot” as a verb. It’s good marketing but I really think it hurts the hobby. The proper term is “3D print”. When you engage in the act, you are “3D printing”, and you may call yourself a “3D printer operator”. Thanks for listening.

  • Shane Graber
    April 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the mention! 🙂

    I’m planning on continuing this series for as long as I can. My next installment will be about using 3D printing to make equipment for marine fish breeding.

  • Brad Pitcher
    April 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    See! Shane says “3D printing” 😉

  • Mark Go
    July 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    3d printing is a great idea for aquarium hobbyist. i’m wondering do you any resource where i can find stl file for eheim filter parts? thanks!


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