In our latest #MeetTheMakers we chatted with Darragh who has been with us since pretty much the beginning. Which to many probably feels like a lifetime ago, if not a completely different life altogether.
What’s your role at 3D Crowd?
I’m currently the regional coordinator for Yorkshire.
What’s your experience with 3D printing?
I have been printing about 2 years now, tangentially been involved with 3D printing for around 5 years or so. I am an aerospace engineer by trade, my first exposure to 3D printing was running experiments on a tiny heat exchanger, printed in Incolnel which was absolutely incredible.
What’s your 3D printing weapon of choice and what do you love doing with it?
I have a Prusa i3 MK3S and an Elegoo Mars resin printer. I spend a lot of my time trying to print weird and wonderful materials, Polypropelene, Polycarbonate, igus bearing material, even some (limited) success from acetal, anything interesting really. I publish my findings and printing profiles on my GitHub page.
How did you get involved with 3D Crowd?
I first found out about 3D Crowd before it really had a name! It seemed that there was a need for someone to coordinate orders and printing in Yorkshire so I put my name forward, and worked with the iForge in Sheffield to get possibly the first ‘hub’ up and running. So far the Yorkshire area has delivered in excess of 6,000 face shields.
Whath you learned from 3D printing Face Shields?
Before I found 3DCrowd I found the Prusa face shield design and printed a few, tweaking various things as I went, I found that the arms of the design started to warp leading to poor quality prints where the elastic attached, so I whipped up some brim ears and used them to stick the part down better. I also developed a new appreciation for the Prusa textured sheets, the PETG sticks like glue to the sheet when it’s hot but as the sheet starts to cool the parts just separate themselves!
Have you enjoyed being part of the 3D Crowd community?
I’m not going to say that it has been easy, but if I wanted easy I wouldn’t have got involved in the first place. 3D printing can be pretty lonely, but being part of the community has given me a place to share my experiences and learn from others in the process. I’ve made friends for life that I’ve never actually met and I’ve found a new passion and appreciation for community spirit and what is possible when people come together to solve a once in a lifetime (hopefully) problem that this pandemic has caused.
Finally, it’s National Mental Health Awareness Week. How have you managed to look after your own mental health and do you have any tips for your fellow 3D Printers?
This is a topic that is quite relevant to me personally.
The few things I have found which keep me (relatively) sane are keeping in touch with friends and family over the phone or Discord. I play Dungeons and Dragons online weekly with a group I know from University. Sometimes not a huge amount of D&D gets played, but it’s company and conversation, and takes your mind off things for a while. It also helps to plan an enjoyable activity to look forward to each day. For me, these are small things like trying a new recipe or reading a good book. Or searching for new materials to print…
It helps to maintain a schedule during a time when many of us have lost our routine through either working from home, or being furloughed. Getting up at the (reasonable) same time every day, keeping meal times and not being tempted to stay up most the night helps me to stop from oversleeping. I’m trying with the meal times, but as ever, I often get to late afternoon having realised I haven’t eaten anything all day.
Social media can bring a lot of negative feelings, especially with more free time at the moment to spend hours browsing, with lots of people trying to achieve limitless goals during this period. Limiting my time spent on social media each day stops me from getting dragged into the mindset of needing to achieve massive goals during lock down.
See Darragh’s work and follow him on social media here.