Fire it up!

I hate inspiration.

There, I said it.

Inspiration is an infuriating creature. It’s capricious. Fickle. Unpredictable. Unreliable. It rarely gets work done and is notorious for abandoning me right in the middle of something that needs done.

And it is indispensable to my creative process.

The fact is that every idea I’ve ever had, no matter what it is, is a child of inspiration. That relationship may be subtle, like a whisper carried on a breeze, or it may be unmistakable, like a lightning strike. Either way, inspiration births ideas and everything that comes from it.

Nevertheless, I hate it because I can’t control it. I want it to obey me and to produce on command. It laughs and disappears for days and months and years, only to return with no apparent prompting to dump a pile of ill-begotten offspring on me and disappear again.

So, it is a surprise when inspiration appears with the true intent of showing me a new thing, opening up a vista of possibility to me that had been heretofore obscured and impossible to get to.

This time, inspiration showed up in the form of an internet article about a dumpster fire toy. I know, right?

But that’s what it was. A spark that, pun intended, caught fire and burned away the dead wood that was obscuring my path to something I’ve been trying to find my way to for decades without success. Suddenly, there it is, the thing I’ve been looking for in all its glory.

A dumpster fire.

Yeah, inspiration. I hate it. And I love it.

Please don’t leave. Please come back.


First impression: The 3Doodler Start

As as long-time 3Doodler user1, I was intrigued by their announcement of the Start, and decided to get in on this release by buying one for myself and my niece. I ordered the Super Mega Pack and the Eco-Plastics Top Up for each of us.

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3Doodler Start Super Mega Pack box

The Super Mega Pack arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I was finally able to really put the pen through its paces today. Overall, my first impression is that I’m impressed by the overall quality and design, though like any similar tool, there are gripes. I’ve provided, in no particular order, my initial thoughts below:

  • The pen is very light and, though it is made predominately of plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap to me.
  • I like that it is battery powered, but it kind of irritated me that it did not come with a USB wall wart as part of the package. I ended up having to provide one of my own to make sure my niece had one. It’s not a deal breaker, but given how cheap they are, I’m not sure how not including one saved that much money.
  • The charge lasts a good long while. I’ve run an entire package of plastic through mine and haven’t had to recharge.
  • The plastic is a lot like PLA to me, though it seems to cool slower and warp more than either PLA or ABS. The fact that it stays soft for so long means it can be worked with for longer, but it also means you have to be careful about working with pieces you want to be square or flat until it has completely cooled.
  • The plastic is also somewhat adhesive like PLA, which makes connecting pieces together easy, but can make finding a drawing surface a pain. So far, I’ve used my goto blue painter’s tape, but I’ve noticed after drawing several pieces it starts to not want to release the tape.
  • The controls are straightforward. Tap the button once to run the motor. Tap it again to stop it. Tap it twice to reverse. Tap it once to stop it.
  • I haven’t used any of the silicon molds that came with the set yet, so I have nothing to report about them.

Overall, I think the Start is aptly named and will be a good 3d pen for anyone wanting to get started in freehand 3d printing or for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on a more advanced pen.


  1. While I’ve used both the original and 2.0 versions of the 3Doodler, I haven’t done as much useful with them as I would like, and I haven’t reviewed either one of them.