MatterHackers & Open Source Ecology offer a build-it-yourself workshop where 3-DIY-ers gain real-world Maker skills with their own LulzBot open-source printer.

"Give me 3 days and I'll make you a Maker" says Lars Brubaker, former video game tycoon-turned 3D printer pioneer, and leader of a 3-Day weekend workshop where participants learn 3D printing from the ground up by building their own machine. The hands-on event, held May 2-4 in Encinitas CA, is intended to help people of all skill levels acquire a working knowledge of 3D printing by building, operating and troubleshooting a LulzBot TAZ open-source printer kit.

Co-developed by Brubaker and Open Source Ecology (OSE), the workshop will be held at OSE's Encinitas AgroEcology Training Center, 499 Quail Gardens Drive, in Encinitas, California. Tuition is $1595 including the TAZ kit (a savings of $400 off an assembled TAZ). If you want to share the fun with your friends, you can invite up to two additional people to work with you for $125 each.

The idea of having participants build their own printers arose from Open Source Ecology's experiences with teaching people about the low-cost farm tractor, brick press, and other open-source tools it's developing as part of its "Global Village Construction Set".

The OSE team worked closely with Brubaker, a contributor to the RepRap open source printer community and co-founder of MatterHackers, Inc., to create a hands-on curriculum which enables would-be Makers to quickly become comfortable with the concepts, hardware, software and materials commonly used in 3D printing. Once they've built their machines and mastered the basics, attendees will learn how to create 3D models and modify existing 3D models using popular software tools. They will also gain experience in using the advanced print techniques available in the MatterControl Software, an open source program created by Brubaker to make it easier to get the best results from nearly any 3D Printer and material. Since both the LulzBot printer and the MatterControl application are open source tools, the workshop will also cover different ways to modify the printer and explore some of the advantages of open source hardware and software.

As part of the build process, workshoppers will learn how to how to calibrate and operate their printers for optimum print quality as well as troubleshoot them when things go wrong.

"I wanted to make sure that everyone comes away from the workshop with the critical skills they'll need to work through the inevitable frustrating and discouraging experiences that might otherwise lead to their new purchase gathering dust in a corner," said Brubaker. "Besides the basics, OSE and I have packed each session full of cool tips and tricks. The projects we do along the way are a fun way to gain confidence in the essential tools and the skills you need to "create" in compelling new ways… and become a part of the Next Industrial Revolution."

Registration is available on the OSE Web site.