Focus on Your Glass Ball

Okay…that’s kind of a weird title for a blog…but it’s true.  Sometimes you are working in a world where you are juggling a lot of balls….but remember only one of the balls is a glass ball….the rest are rubber and will bounce if you drop them.  …And yet, even if you know what the glass ball is, you are thinking about all the existing rubber balls and what you think is going to be the next rubber ball.  I do this a lot.

For the last couple of months, we have had our 3D printers on hold as we were having printing issues with both of them.  We were getting close to a deadline date where we were wanting to showcase the 3D printers and what we were able to do with 4-Hers and the 3D printers this past summer.  Nothing like a deadline to get you to identify your glass ball (if you don’t get the glass ball reference, watch the NGE recording from Callie Ward).  Anyway, I had spent a lot of time on rubber balls, that quite frankly no one but me would have noticed if they had dropped.  And, yesterday, I intentionally dropped a rubber ball…notifying the educator that had identified the rubber ball that I was going to drop it!  …But other than the couple of minutes it took me to identify that one rubber ball, and intentionally drop it, yesterday and today, I spent my time focused on the glass ball….the malfunctioning 3D printers.

Normally I’m not completely mechanically inept…but these 3D printers had me stumped.  I had had both units completely pulled apart, cleaned the hobb gear/extrusion nozzle/print surface…..everything I could think of being the problem, and even worked on some things I was sure weren’t the problem….just to rule them out.  I had success with the first 3D printer just before lunch today, after having the brainstorm of swapping the filament stepper motors from the two 3D printers after I realized I could push filament through while it was printing and it would work perfectly.  So swapped the stepper motor on the filament thinking it must have went bad.  Success!  One down, one to go.  I put what I thought was the malfunctioning stepper in the second printer, carefully checked all connectors, stepper motors, fan connections etc., and am currently printing out a 3D print that well….looks perfect!  I don’t know how swapping the stepper motor between 3D printers made it work…could have been I didn’t have the electrical supply plugged in completely, or I had it reversed, or something….but regardless, I’ll take the win!

Here’s hoping that today you identified your glass ball and were able to focus sufficiently (ignore the rubber balls) to be rewarded with success! Tonight I’ll take some time to identify the next glass ball!!!!

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