November 2, 2022
CRYSTAL CREATIONS - Hammack shows off his most popular “Crystal Dragon” as he stands next to the printer that started it all
Senior Keaton Hammack began his own 3D printing business based on his interest in technology and mechanics.
Originally finding his passion for printing in his freshman year, Hammack has grown to sell his creations to people across the school.
“Keaton started his business by purchasing his own filaments and using my printers, " 3D printing adviser Mr. Joel Bruns said. “Over the weekends he would start these really long prints, usually making these dragons that are sort of articulated in a way.”
Hammack has used his skills and knowledge to sell his prints not only to the student population but elsewhere.
“I can sell them across the US, however; I have only sold one outside of Indiana, which was to North Carolina,” Hammack said. “But I’ve only been doing this business for a few months now, so I’m not going to make a whole bunch of exterior sales from it yet.”
While he hasn’t made a plethora of exterior sales, his profit based on this business has proved to be successful.
“The cheapest item I have sold is $12 and the most expensive is $260,” Hammack said. “I am about ready to sell the $260 item, which is a giant candy bowl. It looks like a turtle with a witch hat, a cauldron for the body, and cobwebs for the flippers. It also has spiders on it and stuff like that. There are bubble or pumpkin toppers for it as well. It’s the only print I have that I have to assemble, and it takes three and a half days to print.”
Not only is the profit beneficial, but the time Keaton spends on average printing is another bonus to his business, as it rarely becomes problematic.
“I wouldn't say I spend a lot of time printing, but my printer surely does,” Hammack said. “However, if there’s any issues with the printer then the process would definitely take a lot longer.”
While most of Hammack’s pieces come out without issue, there have been some occurrences where that was not the case.
“The biggest fail I had was when the print was about 90% of the way done and the printer decided to run out of plastic,” Hammack said. “The printer didn’t save where it was, so I had to restart all of it, and ultimately wasted a lot of plastic.”
3D printing is not just a hobby for one to enjoy, but a process that can teach abilities and specialized forms of thinking.
“Primarily, 3D printing can teach students geometric-type thinking and mechanical hand skills,” Bruns said. “Furthermore, if you really get into it there are some mechanical aspects, such as the repair and maintenance of the printer itself. There’s also finishing the model that you print and painting and adding texture to these models.”
If this form of printing sounds interesting, the school offers multiple resources to get started.
“In the idea farm we have four 3D printers and we are getting a few more,” Bruns said. “They are pretty much open to any student who wants to use them. Students would just have to come into the idea farm during core or before school, even after school. There’s tons of people here who have experience with not only the printing part, but also the modeling part. They are a great resource.”