A 3D Print-a-Thon: Wholesome, Nerdy, Family-Friendly Fun (Tomorrow!!)

I've been preaching that Hacking is a mindset, not a skillset. But you know what? Sometimes it is a skillset. Especially when it comes to the maker community. In their case, it takes skills and equipment and lots of time.

You might know some hobbyists and tinkerers (like hubby's dad who used to build model boats). Their passions always seem to have a high barrier to entry: specifically, lots of cash for training, tools and materials. But did you know that there's a fantastic maker community forming in Ottawa and that they are mobilizing to collaborate and make DIY more accessible to the rest of us?

Venues like Ottawa's own Artengine and Prototype D offer hobbyists the ability to access and share the space and the tools that they need to bring their ideas to life, without having to dedicate a sizable footprint (and chunk of their income) to equip themselves to do so at home. These maker-friendly community centres offer facilities, workshops and access to expensive (and fun!) tech equipment like laser cutters, AutoCAD, film equipment and even 3D printers.

I love love love the array of innovations that are being derived using 3D printing. In fact, if you haven't noticed, I've written a number of stories about ingenious uses for 3d printing over the past couple of years, discussing a wide range of uses:
But for all my 3D printing fangirlism, you know what I've never done? I've never actually been in the same room as a working 3D printer. Nor have I ever actually printed anything on one. Well, nerds, that might all change on Saturday because the Dude and I are heading over to Artengine for a 3D print-a-thon!

Artengine has just acquired two new 3D printers and they would like to show them off. Lucky for us because we want to see them in use :) The event is going to showcase Artengine's space, their new tech and local makers who will show off their prowess for turning little bits of plastic into 3D awesomeness.

While we're there, I plan to find out a bit more about their workshops: Artengine runs a series of free maker workshops to help people learn about equipment and hacking/DIY. There's an upcoming one in April about Raspberry Pi that I can't make, but since I'm thinking of getting one that the Dude and I can tinker with, I want to know about other opportunities to learn about it.

Needless to say, we're pretty jazzed about our little outing. The Dude has been doing some sketches of figurines he would love to make one day, and will bring them to find out what would be the process of converting a sketch to an actual product (or toy dragon, in his case).

If you want to head over to Artengine and check it out, you can sign up on their Eventbrite (it's $2/ person or $5/ family, with proceeds going to help pay to run the 3D printers).

Can you think of a nerdier, more affordable way to spend some family time on a Saturday?
Didn't think so.