3D Printing

With our Federal tax refund each year, my wife and I allocate a portion so that each of us has some “fun money” that we get to use however we want, no conditions.

For me that normally means acquiring gear for a new hobby or interest. 2019 was a DJI Mavic Air drone. This year it was a 3D printer, a Prusa i3 MK3S kit. I bought the kit as it was cheaper and also the recommendation from most people is that it’s worth assembling your first printer to learn how it’s put together and to be familiar with the components as you will most likely need to adjust/maintain them over time.

I’ve been watching the evolution of 3D printers for the last 10 years or so, waiting for the machines to get more reliable, easier to use, and more mature. The time finally felt right to jump in. The Prusa has a number of features that make it much easier to get a print you want, and not have to fiddle with it all the time. The removable PEI-coated print bed is really nice and definitely a must have feature for me.

So far I’ve been mainly printing small models I’ve found online as I figure out all the skills and techniques needed for getting reliable print results. Most people use a test object they are familiar with printing so they can test new settings or new filaments. I’ve settled on a model called Niko the puppy so far. It’s a cute little model that shows off different filaments and how they print. Only downside so far is my daughter is quite found of the models so they get recruited for playtime quite often.

Niko the Puppy by MakerBot - Thingiverse
Niko

I haven’t started creating my own models yet. CAD is something I’ve found interesting for quite a while, at least since college, but have never spent much time in as I didn’t have any personal projects that would use it. Not having a way to design something and then generate a physical result inexpensively seemed less than satisfying to me.

Anticipate seeing some models from me in the near future.

Reduction in Force (RIF)

Pet care startup Rover lays off 41% of workforce due to COVID-19 impact

Tuesday, March 31 2020. A last minute meeting invite to a large group of people. There was no chatter I had heard of to this point that was helpful in knowing what the meeting would be about. One of our C-levels was on, looking like they had been crying recently, telling us that there was an immediate Reduction in Force and that if we were on this call, we were not part of the group that was impacted.

Not impacted. I know what they meant by that phrase but everyone at Rover was impacted. We immediately lost coworkers, teammates, friends. The departments/groups that were lucky lost around 30% of their people, the ones worse off lost nearly 100%. Being part of the IT group I was better situated that most to know the full extent of the cuts and could see the automations being run to turn down hundreds of Gsuite accounts. Posts in Slack about people having trouble accessing some system or another only to a minute later show as deactivated in Slack, a casualty of the account turn down automations.

Initially I felt shock and an immediate loss of confidence in my job during this global pandemic. I felt immediately vulnerable both personally but also for my family. What if I lost my job, maybe not today, but down the road, depending on when the economy was able to try to recover from all of this? Were my emergency funds enough that we would be okay for a while? When was the last time my wife and I sat down to discuss finances and how much we could trim back if we needed to? What about my daughter, how would this change her life, with her just turning 3 earlier this month?

Already this pandemic is being compared to The Great Depression in how it is impacting the economy and people’s lives. I can only hope there are some lasting lessons to be learned from all of this and we are wise enough to embrace them.