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If you want to get good at something, you have to practice it. That’s true for writing as much as playing the piano as much as 3D printing. It was in this vein that the host of YouTube’s Print 3D Channel, Jeffrey Wright, undertook the ambitious project of challenging himself to print something new every single day. It began on New Year’s Day 2017 and is approaching its one year anniversary with an untarnished record with projects such as a holiday ornament, a slingshot, and a trio of meerkats.

As it heads into its home stretch, we thought we’d take a look back through the process and have a conversation with Jeffrey about what he has gotten out of the project.

Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what you do when you are not 3D printing, wrangling kids, or sharing the limelight with Stella, the 3D printing cat?

“I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and moved to Las Vegas in 2001. I am currently working as a Full Time 3D & Motion Graphic Artist for KLAS TV Channel 8, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas. Originally a Graphic Artist working in advertising for Fortune 500 Companies, I self trained in 3D Graphics and Motion Graphics and finally landed a position in Broadcast Television. I have also attended and graduated from film school here in Las Vegas and work with local business on graphic art projects and occasionally do some video editing.

When I am not working, my wife, Heather, and our 3 children here in Las Vegas, are avid outdoor types; when the weather allows, and like to spend a lot of time traveling to California and the coast for weekend getaways. And somewhere in between all that, I manage to 3d print, shoot a companion video and post to YouTube daily for the #3DP365Project, along with keeping up on social media trends in the industry and conversing with peers in the community.”

What made you want to undertake something as intense as a 3D printing project per day? 

“One of my good friends, Kris Mayeshiro, mentioned a photographer years ago that had created the 365project.org website and his goal was similar, only using photography. Photo a day for 365 days. That idea stuck in my head for years. Then in the end of 2016, one of the leaders in print bed surfaces, BuildTak, send out a nice little desk calendar and a link to download and print the holder for said calendar. The spark was ignited. As soon as I put the little cardboard calendar into the 3d printed part, my mind asked, why not do this every day?

I already had an active and slowly growing YouTube channel and a very awesome and helpful community around the creators. Why not print something new every day, shoot and post a video about it? That was it. The project was born. This was my way of sharing 3d printing with everyone, not just hobbyist and enthusiast, but newcomers, people who wanted to know what 3d printing could actually do. Not just print machine parts or trinkets, but everything.”

What have you learned from this year-long journey?

“The biggest lesson I will take away from this year of printing is that there is so much more for me to learn. Still a novice user, I jumped into the #3DP365Project with both feet, with barely any electronics or engineering experience, there was so much that I needed to grasp before taking that project on and I learned as I went, with a few failures came more success. For every print that failed, I learned something new about printing, or modeling, or how to deal with different filaments. Every day has been a new lesson, and for all that I have picked up along the way this year, there is still much much more to learn.

Something else I will take away from this project is not every printer is the same, they are all different and everyone’s results may differ, so when I see a successful print on social media, that doesn’t mean it will be successful for me, or anyone else. There are many variables that come into play when you are 3D printing something and you have to rely on your knowledge of your particular machine to get a successful print.”

What would you count as your greatest 3D printed success?

“In the success category, we would have to rewind back to 2015, but this came with a tragedy. In October of that year, my older brother Anthony Wright, passed away suddenly. In his personal belongings that arrived in Las Vegas was a slightly disassembled gCreate gMax 1.5XT+ 3D Printer. Having never seen a 3D printer before and no previous exposure, this was something well out of my wheel house. After a little research and conversations over social media and emails from the manufacturer of the printer, I was able to reassemble the printer and begin printing. Literally, having no experience in the field and putting this massive consumer printer back together, was a great success for me. But I was also sad because this was something I knew my brother would appreciate even more than I did. From that very thought, I decided to create the YouTube Channel and dedicate it to him. Hopefully if he is watching out there, he will see what I was able to accomplish with his printer.”

What about your biggest failure?

“For the failure category, that is hard to pin down to a particular incident or event or even thing. There have been many hills to climb to get here, some have been equipment issues that almost derailed the project before it started and even in the first few months. For financial reasons as well, but luckily for me and the channel, I have great support from the sponsor of the #3DP365Project in MatterHackers, Inc. They have provided the filament for no cost or a much lower cost, have been amazing with their customer support and have been very active in promoting the project through their social media outlets. So every failure or near failure, I have had a great support circle around me in the 3DP Community, the sponsors, the printer manufacturer and, of course, my super supportive and very understanding wife. Along the way, I have nurtured some life long friendships as well with fellow creators and makers, as well as my channel’s subscriber base, and they have been really great in supporting the project in many ways.”

Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with other 3D print fanatics out there?

“My advice to anyone interested in getting into 3D printing would be to think about why do you want to do it? What is your goal with this hobby, industry or profession? From there you should decide how much you want to invest into it and then look to the community at large for advice. There is no one better suited to give you direction and purchasing information then a user. This is a growing industry and every manufacturer is setting out to be the best so trust not in advertising but in experience.

For the already consumed by 3d printing group, my advice after a full 365 days of printing would be do your own modeling and 3d design, if you can. Learn from multiple sources and look to software developers like Autodesk who have great cloud based applications like Fusion 360, which is free to the hobbyist, and learn how to design and model. With the flood gates opened on 3D printing, the public at large is pouring a ton of unprintable or nearly unprintable models online, not that they are at fault, but its a growth industry and everyone wants a share. If you aren’t ready to do your own modeling, then look to proven artists and designers for the best quality files to work with. Some STL hosting websites will require proof of print and that is better then guessing, printing a bad model, and wasting precious resources and time.”

What do you have in mind for your next project?

“In 2018, we are looking at what is next for the industry and that is multi color FDM printing. There are a few viable options out in the wild already and it will only grow as more off shore manufacturers reverse engineer what is available for a low cost alternative. Innovations happen every day in 3D printing so we as consumers and creators are playing catch up to the higher end, higher cost, machines that are able to create working parts, electronics and bio replacement parts. But at the consumer level, it is multi color and multi material printing that seems to be getting the most attention in the newer machines.

The build volume versus cost war ended with the release of the CR-10 style machines; huge print area, low cost, the next phase of the revolution is colors. Beyond that, and along with that, we want to do more large scale builds, having the gCreate gMax 1.5XT+ as our staple workhorse, that is very easily accomplished. Also of note, a large precentage of the prints from the 365Project will be recycled into more filament and that filament will be used to 3D print prosthetic arms and hands for the eNable Program, something the channel is fully invested in for 2018. We are also looking at working more with electronics and Arduino projects, props for cosplay and film, and a few surprises throughout the year.”

As his year of printing draws to a close, I hope Jeffrey gets some good rest over winter vacation, because his plate is full already for the next year and he has some exciting, and worthy, projects ahead of him.

What do you think of this project? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Images via Print 3D Channel]

 

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