Building Mendel Prusa together with my son

Slowly we are building our next 3D printer, the Mendel Prusa. With my 4 years old son Väinö we had today a great time building our printer. We also took apart some stepper motors to see how they work. Somewhere during the day we also tested and modified home-made stepper controller a bit and connected an old stepper to it. The stepper in question was salvaged from an old scanner that Väinö took apart just recently. So, just normal DIY things every tinkerer does – generally just having fun while learning how things work.

I really hope that my two childs will get to know 3D printing as a valuable tool and not some futuristic sci-fi tech – but just ordinary tool among other tools. It just happens to “print”  things, but basically it isn’t so different from other tools. You need to have an idea, an vision, that you are after before you start working. You have to have basic understading how things work and what you can do with different tools and materials available.

I’m glad to see that in recent months my son has already said many times that “Hey dad, I think we could easily print that – and if we would add that and that to it, it would be even greater, then we could do this and this with it”… So here we go – it already is just a tool for him, nothing more, nothing less! This is what I like the most – the “DIY mentality” – the feeling that through experimentation and tinkering one can obtain much deeper understanding of how things really work and after that, one is free to modify the design of the object in hand.

I know I’m not certainly alone as “tinkerer dad” – I have read many great stories how many parents are doing great “DIY adventures” – by tingering and doing stuff & exploring the world together with their childrens. This seems to be the case many times in tinkerer families. I certainly hope this will last when kids grow up. But for now, I’m certainly a very happy “tinkerer dad” – almost nothing is more rewarding than to see my childs have a happy DIY-moments in their own plays.

It seems that generation after generation, we always have more and more sophisticated tools at our hands and we are capable of fabricating stuff our grand-fathers only dreamed about. I’m fairly sure that for example 3D printers will be as common as  microwave-ovens are nowdays. It seems to me that revolution has already started – who had though five years ago that even 4 year old kid can put together his own 3D-printer 🙂

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