There were two extremes in moods in the lead up to the Bunya Mountains camping trip for Steele Rudd. Aaron (Our Social Coordinator) advertised the camp, trademarked with a bear around college. I’m not sure if he was trying to scare people with the thought that drop bears may be real, or if bears were just his first mental image of camping and wilderness. In the end, only eight of us from college went.

Camp Poster

The biggest challenge of the camp occurred before leaving on Saturday morning- strategically packing all of the camping gear and food into two vehicles. It was at this moment of crisis that luxury items or foods lacking high protein were eliminated (MASS GAINS!!! – 7/8ths of us were males). For obvious reasons, steak got preference over the doughnuts. Don’t worry, we didn’t waste the doughnuts, we just had to carb-load before leaving.

Being the only person in our vehicle who had been to the Bunya Mountains before meant I got the front seat because I was the navigator. Little to my immediate knowledge, being the front passenger also meant I controlled the music. Luckily I had music that was pleasing to the masculine ear as we lads hit the road in Steve’s dual-cab Ute. The excitement of leaving the confines of Steele Rudd College ran through our veins and we talked about what other trips we should make through the year – If only we had the time. The back seat passengers listened in, adding comments as their minds wandered away from the engineering assignment they were attempting as we traveled. Being the farmer kid I was growing up, it was nice driving through the country side, except that there was no grass anywhere due to the drought.

Before we knew it, we were climbing the winding roads admiring the views and anticipating better ones to come. We were surprised how many people were at the Bunya Mountains but it was very good weather to be camping. Arriving at the Burtons Well Camping Ground we decided to setup the camping equipment first so that we could make the most of the afternoon. Starving by now, we sifted through the food and decided that snags on bread with barbecued onion would be perfect for our late lunch. Speaking of barbecues, the cooking equipment provided was an open fire barbecue. It had been mentioned in the risk assessment forms prior to the trip that there was a chance the national park could go up in flames. Lighting a barbecue fire straight away put us at risk of this being a reality. Don’t worry, we were responsible… well… as responsible as we could be while almost delirious from starvation. We smashed down our food and realised there were no rubbish bins so improvised and reused the bread roll bags. Take note future campers – bring bin bags!

Now about 2:45pm we figured it was early enough to do a decent bushwalk. Choosing the 9km track ended up being about 12km because we decided to do the little detours along the way to see the extra lookouts and waterfalls (some of which weren’t even running due to the dry weather). This drew our day out till almost 6pm when we headed back to camp to start the BBQ up again for dinner. Aaron stepped up as cook for the much-anticipated steak ‘n’ bacon with salad on bread rolls. We all decided that the best steak was one that wasn’t cooked almost to the point of beef jerky. However, everyone ended up with near restaurant standard blue steaks, with the actual definition of “blue” steak slightly shocking some people. Did I mention that due to the small number of campers, there were enough to have about four each? The verdict was, ‘as long as we were fine in 48 hours’ time, we know it was cooked enough.’ As it turns out no one got sick, Kudos Master Chef Aaron! Having had sufficient to eat, we returned to the campfire, where we talked and laughed for several hours. Prior to leaving college, we predicted that we would be up all night entertaining ourselves around the fire, however we were all tired from our walking and laughing and hit the hay about 10pm.

We decided we would wake up at 5am the next morning and walk up the mountain near us to watch the sunrise. When the alarm went off at 5am I felt way too buggered to get up, it seems others were the same and we all slept in until nearly 7am. When we got up we realised that the view would have been very limited anyway because there was really thick fog and the sun made the whole place a big, bright blur. After eating as much of the leftover food as we could, kicking the football around and packing away the camping gear, we ventured up the mountain for our last climb of the trip. I had been to the Bunya Mountains in the past and promised that this was the best lookout yet. It was only a short walk but there were enquiries from the back light-heartedly questioning the purpose of the climb. Once we reached the top, all doubts were erased.

Bunya Mountains View

The fog had cleared and everyone had learned to trust my judgment. After seeing all there was to see, we walked back down the mountain, returned to camp, connected up the Bluetooth and cranked the tunes for the trip back. Before we knew it we were back and checking ourselves for ticks. The trip was thoroughly enjoyable and we have plenty of stories to tell and laugh about.

If you read this and were there, you will relate. If you didn’t go, I hope this doesn’t make you too jealous, and for anyone else, I hope you enjoyed the journey.

Until next time,


Boot Camp

“But isn’t O-week a total waste of time? That’s what my friend at work told me.”
“Your friend at work must be great at parties.” I responded.
This year, I begin my studying journey with my mother. While I’m doing an honours project on Group A Strep vaccination research, she’s taking the plunge and studying business. This is a rare point in our relationship where I become the mother and she becomes the fresher noob.
“O-week is a pretty much a party except while you’re having fun and making friends, you’re also learning everything you need to know to get stuck into your study.”
I’m living on Steele Rudd College this year, and damn, O-week was a party. A well organised, well executed party that required two weeks of training beforehand by Residential Advisors and Residential Student Club members.
It began with leadership camp, which should be more accurately re-named “Camp of ultimate punishment and toilet lacking doom”.

Boot Camp 1
Here’s how things went:

11.00AM: We arrive at Murphy’s Creek. Are told to discard things like ‘spare underwear’, ‘hygienic items’ and ‘dignity’.

12.00PM: Get given instructions: “Follow compass bearing 340° until you reach the road”. Nek minnit, or should I say, nek two hours of hiking through pathless death terrain of pointy trees.
Boot Camp 2

2.00PM: Arrived at the road. It felt nice to have branches not high fiving us in the face. We were then told that some water jerries were injured and we needed to get them to another destination of unknown length and ridiculousness.

2.30PM: We arrived at the abseiling activity point (fear not, the water jerries lived) and abseiled 30 meters to our next activity point. It wasn’t really abseiling though, it was more overhang freefall without a parachute after the first 2m of rock.
Boot Camp 3

3.30PM: We then embarked on a cliff walk. I’m fairly certain the song “Don’t push me, cause I’m close to the edge” was inspired by this activity.
Boot Camp 4

5.00-7.30PM: After detaching ourselves from the rock face, we dined on lukewarm space stew. Smuggling coffee in was the best popularity-gaining strategy I’ve ever made. Katharine Bigby, our boss, off-handedly mentions that she was planning to go to Dreamworld for Leadership camp instead of Murphy’s Creek. That was the worst popularity-gaining strategy she’s ever made.
Boot Camp 5

7.30-12.00AM: We then embarked on what we thought was a brief, final hike to our campsite. However, we were faced by an unexpected obstacle after the first twenty minutes – Peter, our camp leader (aka, punishment overlord mature Channing Tatum lookalike) with his Nissan Navara. “Looks like my ute has broken down. You will need to get it to camp along with these injured water jerries.” By the time we were ready to re-embark, we had set up the ultimate vehicle moving team. We put our abseiling harnesses back on, and set up a husky dog style pulling system tied on from the front bull bar in conjunction with people pushing from the back as well as two teams of eight water jerry paramedics. We made it to our camp after 6 kilometers, 5 hours and a 100% gradient terrain hike of intensity.
Nissan Navara

12.00-2.00AM: We ended the hike with a memorable quote from Peter. “You’ve all done very well today, but today is now tomorrow and we begin tomorrow.” Peter is a man of his word, and we continued activities with the 60km/ph flying fox of crotch pain. At this point in time, we were all very tired and found out that we all do very funny things when we’ve reached the wall. My puns were getting steadily worse, Lachlan was snoring on a rock and Josh was telling his infinite punchline-less joke (ask him about it, I dare you).

2.00-6.00AM: Sweet, glorious sleep. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t showered (sunscreen bath counts, doesn’t it?) or that we were sleeping on nothing but the ground. Sleep was sleep.

The next day was a blur of leadership and team building activities, but the mid-ropes course stood out in particular. Peter gave us a preliminary safety briefing, concluding with “Don’t worry everyone, I’ve only had to rescue two people in the park’s history.” Needless to say, he rescued five of us that day. We were on the log avoiding section of the course, and without warning, the steel cable we were balancing on broke off from the tree and we all fell into the hanging position of crotch pain. We all made good use of the opportunity though, and performed an accurate rendition of ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus while we were waiting to be rescued.
Boot Camp 6

Although there was just as much pain after the weekend as during the weekend, it was worth it. I got to know my new Steele Rudd College team better, and in the words of Jack Black, “You’re not hard core unless you live hard core.”


Flashbacks and Fresh Beginnings

The most exciting yet gut-wrenching time for ‘freshers’ (perhaps continuers too) arrived at the start of this week. You guessed it – O’Week! From a quick glance, the phoenix energy has definitely been circulating the Toowoomba campus this week with the scrumptious aromas of sausages sizzling, smiling faces at stands providing abundances of information, friendly tours of the library and university grounds, and long queues for your very own student ID cards. And let me assure you – it doesn’t end here. Work and other commitments don’t allow me to fully participate in O’Week this year, so I have decided to share with you all a few highlights of my very first O’Week, last year.

Toga Trivia Night
This night saw us college students pulling out our favourite Roman inspired bed sheets and some safety pins, searching and following “how to make a toga” on Youtube, followed by coming altogether at McGregor College to answer many questions unbeknown to some, yet familiar to others. Either way, you were bound to have fun – those who didn’t know the answer would humorously answer with a random  and arbitrary answer for the crowd to enjoy, and the others who had correct answers were that step closer to winning. It was so exciting to see USQ’s efforts on making this activity a university-wide event this year and I’m sure those who attended returned home with a belly sore from laughter and a head full of interesting facts, just like I did!

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Steele Rudd’s Big Day Out
On the agenda for Steele Rudd’s BDO was rock climbing, Latin dancing and a stop at Bon Amici’s café, all in Toowoomba’s CBD. These activities created a smooth transition to college life and it was a speedy alternative to meeting everyone and making new friends. The typical O-Week challenges of being yourself and having confidence were particularly tested on this day, thanks to the high demands of team work. Rock climbing was definitely a stand-out for me, having to trust someone you just met to hold your harness, while you climbed (and vice versa) was daunting, but definitely an experience I won’t forget!

Market Day
Held at the start of O-Week last year was Market Day, AKA Freebie Day. Did someone just say free stuff? Yep, awesome right? My favourite freebie was the large collections of pens I had accumulated by the end. These weren’t your average pens that would last you one or two uses. I can vouch that the majority are still working for me today! With freebies aside, having the opportunity to gain more information about USQ’s services and social clubs, as well as local Toowoomba organisations was very beneficial and was a head start to helping me feel at home after having to relocate for uni.

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As O-Week draws to a close and Semester commences, it’s time for us to knuckle down and get prepared for Semester 1. These are the tips I found handy being a new student last year:

  • Make sure you have your timetable on hand at all times, with your room numbers clear (I may or may not have gone to the wrong class in my first week of uni – luckily it was a class I was enrolled in anyway and the class I was supposed to be in happened to be scheduled again for that afternoon)
  • Create a study timetable including all other personal commitments (work, dinner, sport/hobby, and so on) – I cannot emphasis this enough, you will amaze yourself how much easier it is to fit everything in and get things done on time!
  • Sit next to people in class that you don’t know. You may be screaming at the computer screen saying to me “you’re crazy, right!?!” But chances are, your peers are just as nervous to approach you as you are them and they will be so thankful to have someone who can break the ice and to share ideas with!
  • Get enough sleep every night – I probably sound like your mum who nags about eating your vegetables, but it helps a great deal to be feeling awake and ready to learn/study. I would be lying if I said I have never woken up using my laptop as my pillow, feeling woeful!
  • Lastly, yet most importantly, have fun and embrace uni life, ask for help when you need it and have confidence in doing well!

If you need further tips on making friends or conversation starters, I stumbled across this clip where Jordan takes us around Toowoomba campus showing us just how it’s done! Check it out!

Feel free to share your O-Week experiences and your starting Semester 1 clues or blues below!

All the best!

My experience at McGregor Summer School

USQ McGregor Summer School has just recently concluded (8 – 18 January 2014) and for those who consider themselves an ‘arty’, creative or musical and have never previously attended, I would highly recommend getting involved in the future 2014 McGregor Schools – Winter and Spring respectively.

Even though I was unable to attend 2014 Summer School.  As a 2012/2013 Residential College’s student, I was fortunate enough to receive the Residential Colleges/McGregor Summer School Scholarship last year and attended the 2013 McGregor Summer School and completed the workshop ‘Manga Magic’.

So what happens?! 

It’s a ten day intensive learning experience within the areas of Performing, Visual or Creative Arts and Manga Magic (corny name, but the class was pretty cool!) was an introductory course to drawing Japanese comic drawing – Manga Graphic Novel

Our teacher was David Lovegrove a professional artist, author, designer, speaker and has a passion (and talent!) for drawing and creating Japanese Manga (comics).  David’s additional interests also include Anime, Japanese language, culture and film – from this, I knew we’d instantly click!

Over the ten days we covered an extensive amount of artistic territory which included:

• Drawing expression using a composed of movement with the eyebrows, eye and mouth
• Introduction in drawing perspective in a manner that allowed the drawer to tilt objects without causing them to distorted or incorrect
•Finally, a lesson in drawing the human body – firstly, by using geometric shapes to act as a guide when drawing the human body curves and then progressing to gaining drawing  inspiration from live art models!

Anyway, I couldn’t speak more highly of David Lovegrove.  For those who have a passion for comic art and Manga, please check out his website, in particular, the art galleries for some amazing stuff.

So my intensive fortnight workshop lead to my first ever Manga story creation which is displayed below.  It’s called ‘Fire & Ice’ and the story is about two brothers who are seeking to reunite with their father (reason is unknown).  One brother uses a honourable approach by using the police whereas the other sibling uses quite the opposite approach and is quite aggressive by using underground methods and connections to find out information relating to his father’s location.

Anyways, enjoy!

‘Fire & Ice’

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Tackling Semester 3

The half-time whistle was blown a couple of weeks ago now, and this soccer match is nearly at a close. It is unbelievable to think that the end of Semester 3 is nearly in sight. At the half-time kick-off, we welcomed a New Year, twenty-fourteen, two-zero-one-four. Some may see this as a new start. Others may feel no different – so much so that they are still writing 2013 as the date instead of 2014. Whether you are one or the other, I hope for everyone that this year is a remarkable one.

As far as New Year’s Resolutions go – I’m not very good at keeping them. So what I’ve decided to do this year is set smaller targets, more achievable ones.  At half-time, I thought back to the first half of the game and it was clear to me what I had to improve on to reach my desired result at the end of the match, and for future matches. I think saying “I’m going to have all my assignments done two weeks before they are due, instead of staying up to midnight the night they’re due” is a bit far-fetched for someone like me. Two weeks before the due date? Unlikely! So, rather than leaving it to the last minute, my 2014 goal is to at least make a start on my assignments as soon as I feel I have covered enough content and know all the requirements to begin. That way, I am less likely to wind up in a panic the night it’s due.

I kept this in mind for my second assessment item for Semester 3. Just like playing differently to how you had intended to in a soccer game or receiving an unexpected injury, study plans can also change and other things may interfere. I have found that the best thing you can do is to keep your head up and work harder throughout the rest of the game. Catch up as soon as you can catch your breath and your chances of getting the ball into the back of the net are still looking good. Keeping this in mind is how I plan to stick to my main New Year study resolution.


Having a drink break

Now for a quick summary on the past events of my holidays. So far they have played out like I had planned in my previous blog with a couple of extras: a birthday surrounded by family and friends, both X-Factor Live Tour and Taylor Swift concerts, work, playing in a representative soccer team as well as a casual five-a-side game every week, consuming A LOT of food at Christmas time in addition to getting WAY too spoilt, a little retail therapy here and there… the list goes on. Yep, just in case you’re confused, this is still a Semester 3 student speaking!


Working in a clothing store over the holidays has been a great experience – something different to what I’ve ever done before. We also stock the school uniforms for our community. Becoming a teacher and having the opportunity to see the little Preppies come in to try on their first school uniforms ever is such a treat!

While studying this time of year can very much be challenging, it is important that we take time out to simply even take in the word ‘holidays’. Even the greatest soccer players in the world can’t play their best for a whole 90 minute match without having a break between substitutions during the game and/or at half time. Maybe this is easier for me to say compared to my Semester 3 peers as I have decided to only tackle one subject this time round, yet I believe that USQ allows enough flexibility for us to do so. With Semester 3 conveniently only being offered through an online mode and study materials usually accessible at any time required, I have found that we are able to run at our own pace and time.  It’s important that we stop for that drink break when we are tired. It is OK that we rest for a minute, just like the others have, as long as we can find the motivation to run back on again. Hearing “are you coming out tonight?” or “I’m just off to the beach for a week” from your friends as a Semester 3 student is sometimes a bit hard to swallow around due date periods but I’m sure it will pay off in the end!

Coming head-to-head with Exams

Although studying isn’t a team situation for the majority, around exam time it can be! With exams coming up, just like team members come together to a training session for a match, so can a group of friends for study. Sections can be broken up so that each person in the group can bring something to the field and everything will come together. Not only is this less work for everyone but there’s also a chance that someone might know something you don’t. And there’s where you score a goal. Score line – Self: 1, Confused-self: 0.

Without guidance from the coach, players are less likely to perform at their best ability. Ask your lecturers questions, and always listen to the advice they give. They love to help and the weight off your shoulders is enormous when you do. After all, they only want you to succeed and are well-informed of the rules of the game. Plus, the referee will only abide by these when it’s time to umpire!

Another few important things to remember: eat well, keep hydrated, get plenty of sleep, study hard with a balance of regular breaks, and most importantly – DON’T STRESS OUT! Believe that you can do it and everything will fall into place. Don’t forget to reward yourself; they say that a new year brings new things. Being the soapie fanatic I am, I know I can’t wait for the new season of Home and Away (although some may find this sad) to enjoy once I submit my last assignment for Semester 3. There’s also teaching prac, rep soccer and many more things to look forward to this year that will get me through the rest of the semester and remind me that studying, even when others aren’t, IS worth it.

What are you looking forward to this year?


For those who have exams and/or assignments to complete, all the best and I hope the full-time whistle brings you all you desire. To the others, enjoy the rest of your holidays!


2013 in Snapchats


This gallery contains 49 photos.

Twenty thirteen went as fast as library bean bags during exam block. We were lucky enough to be visited by the USQ Toowoomba refurbishment fairy, who gave us a new refectory and science labs. The past year has also brought … Continue reading

Choosing Your Weapon: Apple VS Windows

The computer you choose for study is important. Whether or not a computer works well, fast, slow, has the correct programs for the job, plays games, doesn’t play games, is old or new – as well as cost are all things to consider.

 Another thing to consider of course is which way you swing. Personally – I’m an Apple fan.


I have an Iphone and a MacBook Pro. My family is also Apple users. My Mum and Grandmother each have an Iphone, MacBook Pro and Ipad. Sister = MacBook & Iphone. Cousins, Aunts and Uncles are the same, having at least one of the above. You might say that the Mills family likes their Apple products.

On college though, much to my grief, I found myself surrounded by Windows computers! It was a sad day indeed when I realized that to most others – I was the strange one. I had to contain my horror, but luckily I survived those first few weeks and realized that Windows people aren’t as crazy as I was lead to believe.

I mean – these people can actually play computer games besides the Sims. Talk about a revelation! Back to the point however, everyone has a preferred computer. At college, computers are vital to survival. One can’t submit assignments, let alone do all the research or access course materials without access to the internet. Luckily for those who need it, the Book Bursary is available which can be turned into a computer. Apparently this computer (for those out there thinking maybe they can use it for gaming) is pretty much a dud in the gaming department which could very well be intentional because the university wants people to study with the computers they give out, not play games.

Though people do still find ways to procrastinate without the gaming outlet, for example – looking at funny pictures on Facebook is a favourite of many.

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Watching the Simpsons is the current study-break material of H Block Steele Rudd  – though it does change. I digress though – we were talking about computers.

Simmering underneath the calm surface of college is the battle for supremacy – which computer is better. I know the answer of course – it’s Apple, but then, some might say I’m biased. Those people are probably Windows users though.

Truthfully, each type has its pros and cons. Some require a MacBook for their studies – some programs Apple products get are much better than Windows ones – usually these are Arts people. Others, doing engineering for example, need Windows for the programs that it provides. I can see both sides of the argument, but I do prefer my side.

I leave you reader, to ponder which type you prefer and why? If you’re a Linux user… well you’re excused from discussion.

Cheers, Laura

Residential Shield Short film

Hello again

What has everyone been up to? Unless you have been saving the world, flying to the moon or found a way to make money grow on trees and have been travelling the corners of the world, then I think the past few weeks for me have been just as, if not, more exciting than yours!

I have finished yet another year on residential colleges, that makes 3 for me. It is so crazy to think it has been that long, and I can still remember my first day at Concannon as a 17 year old. Now I am 20 (Yuck!), was a Residential Advisor, and now next year I will be taking on the role as Social Co-ordinator of the Concannon College Resident Student Club. Pretty much, I, along with four others on the RSC,  get to organize all the cool, fun stuff on college for the residents. The main being O-Week, Semi Formal, and Formal, as well as many others in between.

I thought this blog would be a good opportunity to show whoever is reading this the Concanon Short Film for 2013. If you have read previous blogs from other residents they mention this, and I am here to tell you it is one of the best things about college. Look out Morgan Freeman and every other award winning actor, some of the Concannon Residents have found a new calling. Despite the acting skills being described by critics as “breathtaking” and “the best acting since Titanic”, it was it was advised they don’t quit their degree to pursue this as new career.

Short film is always stressful to film and time consuming to edit, however it also a lot of fun. For your own viewing pleasure, it is below…



Thanks for reading/watching.

Until next time,


College Zombies

They aren’t the typical, undead type of zombie that first comes to mind – but if you’re a zombie hunter, a university college is the perfect place to find what you are looking for. The university zombies can even be classified into the manner they became zombies; allow me to enlighten you.

First we have the Sleep Deprived Zombies. As the name suggests, they became the walking dead when they didn’t sleep for several nights in a row, or perhaps went to bed at 4am and arose from their slumber at 7am for long periods of time.
These Zombies are fairly easy to spot, because if you see them at breakfast they communicate using the ‘Common Zombie Tongue’ which sounds a lot like “Ggggrrr….mmm…ahhh…ooofffff…” This translates to ‘Bugger Off – It’s way to early for this, I just want to sleep,’ excepting of course when it doesn’t translate to anything because the zombie is so sleep deprived that even forming coherent zombie words is to much. These zombies are less likely to attack, but caution is still advised.

One must look out for the Caffeinated Zombies. These zombies were once ‘Sleep Deprived’, however a misguided attempt to cure these people by providing them with beverages such as tea, coffee, ‘V’, Mother, RockStar, Redbull or other such drinks caused them to morph into far more dangerous versions. Caffeinated Zombies are faster, smarter, and generally more aggressive – especially when they are running low on caffeine. The writer suggests that wannabe zombie hunters should carry an energy drink in case needed as a distraction – but it should only be used as a last resort due to the increased risk factors that a freshly caffeinated zombie provides.

Then there are the Fried Zombies. These were created after many hours of staring at a screen. Usually from playing video/ computer games or playing on ones phone for hours. Everyone knows one, hell – I probably am one. This breed is significantly less dangerous, as they cannot stray far from their electronic device, and should the zombie hunter get hold of said device and destroy it the zombie may be rendered helpless long enough to escape. However, one must be careful when destroying the electronic device as it carries the possibility of backfiring; enraging the zombie. In such events, the advised course of action is to run for your life.

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Hungry Zombies are another breed. These are the fairly typical zombie. This type is always hungry; they might have had a delicious lunch of brains not half an hour beforehand when they suddenly feel hungry again. They’re always taking study breaks so that they can eat something. One needs to be careful of this kind – they can smell brains a mile away and will happily ditch studying with their fellow zombies for a tasty morsel of ‘ze’ little grey cells’.


While these four are not the only types of zombies that the up-and-coming hunter will cross paths with, they are the most common and if you decide that you want to join the league of college zombies it is best to know what you are likely to come across; so don’t forget your weapons – a pillow, an energy drink, a computer and brains when you come to college.

Best of Luck and Happy Hunting,
Laura Mills

Let Me 3D Print That For You

“Do I need 3D Glasses to see it?”

“Does it print 3D puffy stickers or something? What are you talking about?”

“Can you print me a Master Chief costume?”

A few months back I made the potentially regrettable decision to build a 3D Printer.  Those were the mixed reactions I received from others at college upon trying to explain what it actually is.  This is probably because calling it a 3D printer is actually quite a confusing if you are trying to relate it to a standard inkjet printer.  It’s like trying to imagine an office photocopier popping out small plastic bunnies or phone cases.  In reality, it works by taking plastic from a spool (stored in the same way as thread) melting it at 200°C and laying it down in very fine layers.  Many of these layers are deposited, measuring at about 0.1mm (or 100 microns) each and they eventually build up to create the desired 3D object.

Although 3D printing has been around since the 80’s (back then it was called ‘Additive Layer Manufacturing’) I was captivated by the concept of home 3D printers and the direction, momentum and possibilities that the technology brings.  Not only are 3D printers heading to space, they are also in food, clothing, shoes, weapons, jet engine part research and the like.  What really lept out of my laptop and smacked me in the face was, however, the research success in printing arteries, kidneys, hip replacements and the like.

From what I understand, such technology relies on droplets of “bioink” (pronounced ‘bio-ink’, not ‘bi-oink’.  That would be silly.), which are clumps of cells a few hundred micrometres in diameter in a liquid form.  Droplets placed next to one another will flow together and fuse, forming layers, rings or other shapes, depending on how they were deposited.  To build tubes that could serve as blood vessels, for instance, they lay down successive rings containing muscle and endothelial cells, which line our arteries and veins.  Obviously, I could not fulfill my dream of printing a dinosaur yet, but there was a way to get some experience to hopefully allow me to be a part of such research in the future.

And thus, I bought a DIY kit to build my own printer for $600 online.  I had no experience in building anything, but I was looking forward to the intensive learning you gain by experience, as well as fixing any issues you have on your own.  Here are a few pictures of the building stage:

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$600, if you’re wondering, is in about the middle range for pre-assembled printers.  Currently, the cheapest one on the market is $200, and higher end printers range from $1,000-$2,000 each.  I could also print the parts for another printer if I wanted, in which case it would cost me about $300 to buy the rest of the parts separately.  The plastic I use in my printer is referred to as PLA, which sets me back about $40 per kilo and works out to be about .70c  per metre.  Pretty cheap stuff for the quality you can arrive at.  Here are a few of the example models I’ve printed.

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I’ve also had my fair share of failed prints through my learning journey of intensity.  As well as the bat-bane, I’ve also printed out a model of Han Solo in carbonite that looked more like Jabba the Hutt and a Post Horn that sounded more like a fart machine (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing)

.2013-08-06 15.54.28


But seriously, it’s been great fun to build.  It was quite straightforward and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys something new.  Feel free to comment if you are thinking about getting/building a printer and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have.  Happy Holidays!