Having a 3D printer can make you do stupid things

The crew has been rotating though various crew roles (engineer, scientist, executive officer). I’m currently the XO so that puts me in charge of checking in with mission support a few times a day and general scheduling/logistics stuff. This afternoon one of my tasks was updating the toilet schedule for the second half of the mission. The bathroom that you are assigned to rotates as does the person in charge of turning the compost and cleaning the bathroom. Anyway I had the schedule printed out and was ready to go put them up in the bathrooms but I couldn’t find the scotch tape dispenser. Rather than spend more time looking for the tape dispenser or perhaps most logically using a pair of scissors I decided to 3D print one instead. The magic of the internet means that often times for something fairly generic like this someone has already created the design and all you have to do is download it and print it out. So 20 minutes of printing and a couple minutes of sanding later here I am with a brand new scotch tape dispenser. Not sure I can say it was time well spent but it was more fun than scissors.





  1. WAIT WAIT WAIT! You had the scotch tape but simply could not find the dispenser….? And then you spent 20 minutes making a new dispenser so you could tape the pull of a piece of tape to stick the schedule on the wall? I just want to ask this; as XO, would you have reprimanded the Engineer for having done this?


  2. Mike Kopp · · Reply

    Methinks you may have too much time on your hands…

    It only takes a second to tear off a piece of tape…


    1. I know you guys are just giving me a hard time but in my defense:
      – My personal goal here is to experiment with making stuff we don’t have
      – The time spent actively working on this is much less than 20 minutes, probably closer to 5. Most of the time it was just printing
      – The cost to do this was about $0.29
      – I do have a lot of time on my hands
      – Boredom is the bigger enemy


    2. Of course I recognize the ridiculousness this as well, hence the title of the post.


  3. Hey Zak,

    As always, nice work ! I see a 3D printer in your future home arsenal of tools…
    Snow here today, sun tomorrow.


    1. Well it is already sort of. The one I’m using is one I bought and I’ll definitely be bringing it back with me. Can’t wait to show it to you.

      Bede sent me a nice photo of Yo sitting in the front yard. Windy here today (and supposed to be all week), it is shaking the whole dome.


  4. Laura Bigger · · Reply

    Can I have one of those? I like the simple design. I’d actually like to congratulate you on being perhaps the first blog that my dad has commented publicly on. It was a pleasure to run into him on the Interwebs for me 🙂


    1. I like the design as well, after trying it out I have some thoughts on ways it could be redesigned to work a bit better. Some of the other designs were just normal dispensers, this one is cool because it is really designed for manufacturing with a 3D printer.

      I’m honored to be his first commente. He has been commented pretty regularly. Always good to hear from the Bigger/Eggermans.


  5. […] a lot of 3D printing (over 600 parts and counting). I talked about why 3D printing is cool and stupid. Some of my designs I’ve posted to thingiverse […]


  6. […] Zak Wilson focused on 3D printing, designing and printing more than 730 pieces when they needed spare parts (or model rockets). 3D printing what is needed, instead of packing anything that might be needed, […]


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