Two New Fall Events

I have two additional events to add to my Events page. They are both in Prince William County, Virginia:

Saturday October 17th, 2015 – Community Yard Sale
8 AM – 12 PM
St. Paul United Methodist Church
1400 G Street (Off Occoquan Road)
Woodbridge, VA

Saturday November 14th – 4th Annual Fall Fair
10 AM – 4 PM
Post 28 Quantico Buck Keyes American Legion
17934 Liming Lane
Triangle, VA 22172

I mentioned in my follow up to the Occoquan Fall Arts and Craft Show that I felt I may have mispriced some of my items, particularly items geared for children. I’m going to experiment with lower prices at both of these events. Gather up more data for me to learn about pricing and sales.

As I tell my four year old, you gotta practice to get good. : )

More Proof 3D Printing is Hands-On

When I was preparing for Occoquan Arts and Craft Fair, behind the scenes I was somewhat worried the organizers wouldn’t perceive my work as handmade. I had these preemptive unspoken arguments queuing up in my head. I collected up examples (and photos) of all the hands-on work– the modeling, the trial and error, the bed prep, the filament changes, the sanding (my gazebo ornament– I have to sand in between each and every slat in the railing- 70 in total), the painting, the sealing, adding split rings and keychains. I had a point all lined up at how Etsy considers 3D printing handmade.

This whole process was quite similar to all the practice arguments and the State Code passage I memorized in case anyone ever gave me flak about breastfeeding. In both cases, I never had any hassle (which doesn’t mean people aren’t hassled).

But should the tide ever turn, I had thought the giant gash in my thumb would be another good testament to the hands-on nature of 3D Printing.

3D Printing - Injury

If it wasn’t hands-on, how did I get that injury, huh? Huh? Huh? : )

And this tweet from PrintedSolid shows that I’m not an anomaly. Heads up– his picture includes the blood.

Horrors of #3dprinting #ouch #thefilamentbitme

— Printed Solid (@PrintedSolid) October 4, 2015

3D Printing is most definitely a hands-on craft… and apparently dangerous for thumbs. : )

Hobbies Collide – Geocaching and 3D Printing

Long before I even heard of 3D Printing, one of my hobbies was geocaching! Admittedly, I haven’t done it much recently (we did do a couple caches with the boys last summer), but it is still near and dear to my heart.

Last week at the Fall Occoquan Arts and Craft Show, I met a much more active geocacher (like “5,992 caches found” active) – DePhogration. Using one of the prints of Rosie Campbell’s Science-Themed Necklace, he set up a brand new Travel Bug. Even if I’m not actively geocaching… I (and you!) can follow its adventures. The goal– visit as many science-themed caches as possible. : )

Geocaching and 3D Printing - TGAW Orbiting

Get TGAW 3D Halloween Designs….with FREE Shipping

Shapeways Free Shipping

Shapeways is offering FREE shipping this weekend (October 3rd and 4th, 2015). Know what that means? You can get my Glowing Cthulhu Jack-O-Lantern or my moving part Dial-O-Lantern (pick between 27 face combinations) in time for Halloween… and with FREE shipping.

Cthulhu Pumpkin - Glowing Orange
Glowing Cthulhu Pumpkin

3D Printing - Dial O Lantern - Example Face
Moving Part – Dial-O-Lantern

Happy Shopping! : )

Print Diary – Curiosity Rover

Over the summer, NASA released a FREE 3D Printable model of the Curiosity Rover. Now that the Fall Occoquan Arts and Craft Show is behind me, I had time to do a “fun” print. NASA had two versions to choose from – detailed version estimated to take 11 hours and a Simplified version, estimated to take 2 1/2 hours. I chose to go with the “Simplified” version.

Fun Print - Curiosity Rover

I decided to break the print up into two prints. I did most of the parts in MakerGear Silver PLA filament (I did have to rotate some of the parts in Simplify3d before printing) and then I did the six tires in MakerGear Black PLA Filament. I printed at 0.25 layer height with 20% infill.

The final rover came out FANTASTIC! An easy print with easy assembly. NASA even put in their own rafts and supports which worked wonderfully. I am impressed how easy it was. Great job, NASA!

3D Printing - Curiosity Rover

P.S. Curiosity isn’t the only free NASA model out there. They have an entire 3D Printing section!

Fall Occoquan Arts and Craft Show

Well, it was a whirlwind, but we had a phenomenal time at the Fall Occoquan Arts and Craft Show! Everything clicked into place so we could relax and enjoy the show. We had steady enough sales that we didn’t have to worry about not selling anything…. but the sales paced in a way that we didn’t have to worry about running out of everything on Saturday.

When I step back, it is crazy we accomplished in just eight weeks. Eight weeks ago, I may have had some designs up on Shapeways, but for all practical purposes I was just a girl with a 3D Printer. I had NO inventory. NO tent. NO tables. Nothing! So in eight weeks, we (I say we, because from my husband to my mother to my brother to my sister-in-law to a battery of friends– it was a big group effort) pulled off a little business.

19 new designs, over 400 prints, a business license, tax IDs, a logo and signage, infrastructure for display and credit cards reading.

Whew! No wonder I’m so tired.

3D Printing - Occoquan Craft Show - Vicky and Booth
This All Did Not Exist Eight Weeks Ago!

Surprise Strong Sellers
The most surprising seller was the Glowing Cthulhu Coaster. The Glowing Cthulhu Coaster was actually our first sale, a mere minute after the bells rung to start the show. We ended up selling out of Cthulhu Coasters the very first day. The second morning, we printed more…which was good because in the afternoon we sold another one!

3D Printing - Glowing Cthulhu Coaster (Lit Up)

The other great surprise was my Mamie Davis Gazebo Christmas Ornament. I didn’t blog about it yet. That was my very last design for the show- done in a marathon 16 hour design session and then printing the very last week before the show. After a handful of gazebos, I was thinking of switching back to other products. My husband convinced me to print more gazebos and I’m glad I did. By the end of the show, they were all spoken for!

3D Printing - Mamie Davis Park Gazebo Ornament

I was also pleased to sell a Schrodinger’s Cat and Box! He is definitely a niche product.

Schrodinger Cat - Two in Boxes

Surprise Slow Sellers
On the other hand, the bird magnets and wreaths did not do as well as I had anticipated. Possible variables- I had that in the back of the booth. I also suspect I mucked up the pricing and made them too high (More on that below).

3D Printing - Blue Jay Wreath

I left the show with a half dozen custom design requests to follow-up on. In Episode 89 of the WTFFF Podcast, Tom and Tracy Hazzard said for them, if they left a tradeshow with just one lead, the show was worth it. I left with multiple leads plus SALES. So yeah, totally worth it.

Beyond Sales
We had a best case scenario. Even if we missed a sale, we still got our egos stroked with compliments to the designs and then the best part- we got to introduce 3D printing to the masses! Visitor after visitor came in and told us, “This is the first time I’ve laid eyes on a 3D Printer. I’ve read about it, but I’ve never seen one.” They would call others over to mob around the printer. That was very satisfying.

Occoquan Fall Arts and Craft Show

Occoquan Craft Show 2015 - Dyson Plays with Hot End

One lady admired all my birds and said, “I heard about 3D Printing, but I had no idea you could use it to make beautiful art work.” Beautiful art work! That’s the term she used!

And I got to do something I really do revel in– talking about 3D Printing and showing people how it is within their grasp right now. They can start designing and printing right now!

Surprising Another 3D Printer
Okay… so yeah, maybe it is easy to wow the layman with 3D Printing. But what about people who have 3D printers of their own? Sunday, a local man with a 3D Printer stopped by my booth. We talked about nozzles and NinjaFlex and slicing. All of a sudden his wife interrupted, pointing to one of my glowing fireflies and asking how I did the different colors.

3D Printing - Firefly Magnet

“That’s painted, baby.” the man quickly said.

And I got to correct him, “No, it’s different color filaments.”

He looked at the firefly again. “Ooooh, I see. You print the different filaments and glue them together.”

And I got to correct him and explain how I use Simplify3D to do the multiple processes and start the different colors that their designated heights.

Out of all the visitors that past weekend, I think it was only he who could really fully appreciate the technique.

To Learn: Pricing
When learning 3D Printing, you do a lot of experimentation. Ooh your overhangs are messy, let’s try a print with lower temperatures. Still not perfect? Let’s try a print with slower speeds. You tweak and make adjustments.

I do believe it’s going to be the same kind of thing with sales. Right now, I believe I priced the Cork Puppies and Cork Kitties too high. I was pricing it, thinking the end users were adults (using them as décor, place set holders, and entrée labels). It was very clear at the show, I should have been pricing it for KIDS. The end users are KIDS! They love them.

Occoquan Craft Show - Eight Black Cork Kitties

I also believe I priced the birds too high.

On the other side of the spectrum, it is possible I priced the Mamie Davis Gazebo Ornament too low. Why do I say that? My Mom accidently quoted a lady TWICE the price and she still agreed to buy THREE. (I only charged her the real price). So go figure. hehe

It’s just another thing for me to learn and master. It may take me a while to master, but I’ll keep working at it. : )

Next Up
Next up– a little bit of rest, getting my remaining inventory up on Etsy, doing these custom orders… and then prepping for more shows!

Virginia is for Wine Lovers Bottle Stopper

Preparing for the Occoquan Arts and Craft Show, I thought about the extra SS Niles Bottle Stoppers I had on hand. I asked my co-workers if they had any ideas for wine stoppers I could do for the craft show. They all had great ideas, but one stood out above the rest.

“What about instead of ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ [our state’s ad slogan], you have something that says ‘Virginia is for Wine Lovers’?”

Well that sounded like an excellent idea and it did seem like it would go over well with the crowd. But I wanted to see if it was an unique idea…. and not so much. A Google image search showed a lot of products with that saying.

Virginia is For Wine Lovers - Other Products

Now here’s the silver lining of being a busy working mother with limited time to 3D Print. You are naturally going to discriminate what you spend your time modeling and printing. So I reflected on how I could take that concept and make it unique and fresh– make it worth spending time one. I did some doodling and all of a sudden it occurred to me. That Commonwealth of Virginia…. it sort of looks like a bunch of grapes.

So instead of printing the slogan, “Virginia is for Wine Lovers”, I decided to model grapes… in the form of Virginia.

Virginia is for Wine Lovers Sketch

Modeling and printing took a few iterations to get it to the point where I was satisfied. All that tweaking paid off. I’m totally in love with it. In fact, I went and ordered 20 more bottle stoppers so we can have more on hand for the Occoquan Fall Arts and Craft Show.

3D Printing - Virginia is for Wine Lovers Wine Stopper (Close)

And if you can’t make it to the show, I do have the Virginia is for Wine Lovers Wine Stopper up on Etsy

Print Diary – Painting Party!

We’re in crunch time for the Occoquan Fall Arts and Craft Show. How can a first time vendor make forward progress toward having a respectable inventory and keep their social life going? Why, a painting party, of course!

Remember all those Cork Puppies and Cork Kitties I’ve been printing? Some friends of mine generously agreed to help paint them. Not only that, they hosted said painting at their house… and they fed me homemade lasagna. (They seemed to have gotten the short end of this deal).

Cork Puppy and Cork Kitty Painting Party

Cork Puppy and Cork Kitty Painting Party

We had a good time and we all fell in love with the black cat. Green eyes popped so gorgeously on that Black plastic… and he is perfect for the upcoming Halloween Holiday.

3D Printing - Cork Puppies and Cork Kitties

In fact, when I left with my newly painted Cork Puppies and Cork Kitties, I also left with an order for 8 Black Cats. My hostess is going to use them for a Halloween party she is having. : )