The Smoker’s Guide to 3D Printing

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A recent mishap involving a friend’s dog prompted the writing of this 3D printing guide, but we’ll get back to that shortly.

As I researched possible solutions to the aforementioned issue, the technology’s possible applications in the cannabis industry presented a truly promising prospect.

How could one of the fastest growing industries in our country’s history put the greatest advancement in manufacturing since the chisel to use?

Industrial hemp is already making a major comeback, and with the continual easement of laws and regulations surrounding the material, the applications figure to be vast.

Adidas and its subsidiary Reebok have shown on multiple occasions they’re willing to embrace hemp fully, and the 3-striped fashion empire announced the mass production of their first 3D-printed shoe model earlier this year. The “Futurecraft 4D” has a midsole that’s created using a process where ultraviolet light solidifies a polymer resin as it is lifted from a sci-fi movie-esque vat of goo. One would imagine the two progressive production methods would intersect in the design room at some point, especially when hemp offers such added resilience compared to its synthetic counterparts.

There are already companies converting hemp to HempBioPlastic (HBP) to be used as filament in 3D printers. For printing purposes, HBP is significantly lighter and more pliable than Polylactic Acid, the most common plastic used in 3D printing. Hemp also requires far less energy output from the printer to form into shape. HBP is 20 percent lighter than its leading plastic competitor and 30 percent more resistant to breakage.

Many companies use the technology to create smaller lines of product, as the need to create expensive molds that can’t be modified is eliminated with 3D printing. This makes it an attractive tool for small businesses that can’t afford to keep up with the titans of industry.

From smoking accessories to grow equipment and beyond, 3D printing offers a simple solution to creating parts or products you need produced quickly but may not have the factory space, manpower, or time previously required to complete projects of this nature.

Let’s rewind a bit to the original predicament that required self-manufactured solving.

The Dog Ate My Grinder

By no means am I blaming my friend’s furry companion. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I wholeheartedly believe Barney thought my bright orange grinder was some sort of juicy filet.

Before the comment section jumps down my neck claiming that dogs don’t see colors, know that the kid did his homework.

dog-colors-google

According to the internet, my orange grinder probably resembled a thick beige turkey burger — which surely someone (like a dog visiting from out of town, not familiar with the occasional paraphernalia sighting) may find pretty appetizing. If “someone” had been smoking up the living room pretty heavy that morning before leaving to grab breakfast and Yung Barn happened to trot through leisurely enough to catch a contact, nobody could blame the little guy for craving a munch.

Thankfully, it looked like only a few curious chomps had been taken and absolutely no pieces were missing. Thus, no animals were harmed in the not-actually-planned creation of this article.

Nevertheless, my trusty plastic grinder was no longer functional and I would need to replace it with the quickness. Yes, I have my premium four-piece stainless steel variety at home and an old coffee grinder for the really stubborn work, but you always need a trusty road homie; the kind of friend that will hang around in your backpack long past the extent of your awareness, including as you stroll through airport security without a care in the world.

There weren’t any orange-related strains at the ready in my portfolio, so a perfectly ripe Nectarine from Nameless would serve as the ideal memorial smoke to Ol’ Clementine. While some tears were shed (phone was dead, so I couldn’t time the cool down on my nail), it was a celebration of life more than anything. That little guy saw quite a bit in the 5 or 6 months since a delivery service put him in my bag for free even though I specifically said I’d rather have an edible.

The session got me thinking even more deeply about how to replace the orange grinder in the most elaborate and honorable way possible. One of my friends at work had mentioned recently that someone she knows owns a 3D printer. Not entirely familiar with the process, I returned to Google.

Something From Nothing

Turns out, like Alexa and other artificial intelligence-based assistants, 3D printing has been around for quite some time even though it’s only now seeing a mainstream boom.

Since the early 1980s, visionary builders have been taking ideas from digital file to tangible product — however primitive the antiquated versions may have been in comparison to the modern marvels of today.

Most consumer 3D printers employ a process called fused deposition modeling (FDM) that feeds a thin cylindrical filament, typically plastic, through a heated head unit, melting it into form layer by layer until the build is complete. There are a number of other visually stunning 3D printers if you’re Nectarine bake is still lingering, including this extraordinary Russian unit that built a house in just 24 hours for under $10,000.

Today’s 3D printing technology has become so advanced in recent years that doctors, dentists, airplane manufacturers, and architects are utilizing the revolutionary design process to streamline their operations.

A quick search yields pages upon pages of free 3D printing plans for not only weed grinders but bowls and bongs as far as the squinted eye could see. From simplistic to over-the-top, the designs vary in size, complexity, and real world viability. A 3D printer gives you the ability to replace every little plastic part that was ever lost, including the backs to all of your remote controls and vape pen mouthpieces. After sifting through what seemed like thousands of plans, something explosive fell right in my virtual lap. A related video suggestion on YouTube teased me with a thumbnail of what looked like a grenade and grinder Transformer, and I suddenly didn’t care about the unit’s airport friendliness anymore. This bad boy was just too fascinating not to make out of thin air from plans I pretty much Limewire’d off the web in 30 seconds from a designer named Gyrobot.

After asking my coworker to inquire with her friend if the plans were not only feasible but easy and inexpensive to make, he answered affirmatively and agreed to bring my curiosity to life. I waited patiently for the masterpiece to be completed.

A New Grinder is Born

Our grenade grinder was printed on an XYZprinting DaVinci 1.0 and required only about one-eighth of a spool of filament to complete. A spool of hemp-based filament can be bought online right now for $45.99, meaning you too can make a hemp grenade to eviscerate all of your tree for about five bucks and change.

With my new shapeshifting grinder in tow, I set off to test its real-world effectiveness. After finally figuring out how to get past the National Treasure-level security the grinder uses to shield what is clearly alien technology from unwanted bargain bin shake weed, I was finally in business. With a few turns of the robot-crafted handle, tattered shreds of what was once a fat sticky nugget of OG came pouring out of the spout, directly into a waiting blunt.

Now my only problem was figuring out how to afford a 3D printer of my own. They actually won’t set you back quite as much as you may think. A number of exceptionally-rated printers are available on Amazon for under $500, though the technology is definitely a get-what-you-pay-for kind of thing, so higher end models typically offer more features and printing space.

Surely I wouldn’t need new grinders all of the time, but the ability to generate Yo-Yo’s, bootleg Legos, and Tech Deck ramps at will is just not something I can go back to living without — the possibilities are endless. My only fear is that I’d be 3D printing silverware instead of doing the dishes.

About Author

Habitually line-stepped on the radio for a grip before writing about music for Genius, Complex, XXL, Elevator, HotNewHipHop, and more. If you're stoned right now, leave a comment with your favorite movie, regardless of what the article is about. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you're feeling like you don't want our connection to end right this very moment.

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