Thursday, January 29, 2015

Transporting our Printers and the TSA

BPC maker club is at the 3D Printing World Expo! We have a booth in the same room as some of premier members of the 3D printing world, which is pretty cool.

When we got around to planning the logistics of our trip, we learned that most organizations ship their 3D printers ahead of time. Oops. We were going to have to carry ours on Southwest Airlines.   We read over the official list of TSA prohibited items, and we didn't see anything remotely 3D-printer related on the list. We brought two of our printers - our Cube 2 and our Printrbot Simple, since they both seem small enough to pass as carry-on luggage!

To travel on the airplane, and after trying many orientations in a suitcase, we had to remove the build plate from the Printrbot simple and carry it separately.  To someone unfamiliar with 3D printers, it looked like a jumble of metal parts and wires. The Cube stayed relatively intact and looked, as one student described "pretty much like a children's toy."

We had to get through the TSA with the 3D printers they were surprisingly nice, which surprised us because Reddit said they were horrible.  We just took them out from our bags and sent them through the x-ray thing. I think if you put them in checked baggage it could be very different.  The TSA guy even joked "of course I had to get a 3D printer today!"  Another TSA guy told us that the weirdest thing he say someone try to bring through security was an automatic transmission.

We arrived at the convention center with the printer in multiple parts, and in under 15 minutes, had the build plate re-installed and a print running!

- Jane (8th grade) & Sam (8th grade)


  1. Hooray! Glad everyone and the 3-D printers arrived safely.

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