The inevitable 2020 roundup

This is the latest 3d printing project of mine. It’s a version of the Armourer’s helmet from The Mandalorian tv show. Riding the skytrain to work this morning, I was thinking glumly about how I was likely to write pretty much the same 2020 roundup post as everyone else (people ARE still blogging, right?). Then I thought about the helmet and realised, that IS my 2020 roundup.

See, this project began with enthusiasm and ambition. This was a bigger and more complex helmet than any I had tried before with the printer. It wasn’t pre-sliced, so I had to slice it up myself, and then make sure all the printed pieces would go together. The only YouTube tutorials I found on this process didn’t quite match what I was trying to do, which is weird, because I would bet big money I’m not the only Charlie trying to do this.

Anyway, it seemed like I had barely begun when things went off the rails. The first two pieces were beautifully printed and went together perfectly. The third did not fit. At all. Worse still, each piece was using a LOT more filament than I had anticipated. I soldiered on, starting (belatedly) to keep notes of the slicing process so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. I didn’t, of course. I made whole NEW mistakes. Some of the parts didn’t print cleanly. Some of the ones that weren’t too bad didn’t glue in place properly. As I reached the time of writing, I haven’t achieved nearly as much of the project as I had hoped – the front half of the helmet is still missing two pieces, and the back half hasn’t been done at all (unless you count the two pieces that won’t fit with anything else…)

The saying goes “half a loaf is better than none”, and like many people this year, that’s the philosophy I’m clinging to. Yes, I’ve got slightly less than half my loaf, and it’s going to take a lot more time, effort and materials to bring it up to scratch. But, let’s not forget, THIS WAS 2020.

I don’t know if 2021 is going to be more productive. I know I hope to get more done, and I’m planning to get more done, but I will accept half a loaf, if that’s all there is next December.

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