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Written by Sibi 

04/04/2023

E3D Meets Olivia - QDP2D

Natalie with the new additions to her collection of 3D printers.

Olivia with friends at ERRF 2022.

TL;DR: Last week we caught up with our good friend, the extremely talented Olivia aka QDP2D. We spoke about her 3D printing journey, how she first met Sanjay and her unofficial adoption by E3D. You won't want to miss this one! Read on to find out all the juicy details she shared exclusively with E3D. 

Hi Olivia! Go ahead and introduce yourself to our community. 

Hello and thank you for having me! As you know, my name is Olivia and I live just outside of Chicago, IL. Unfortunately since someone took the username “Olivia” on basically every website, I had to pick something else to go by. Since QDP2D was free and made me giggle, I went with that. Aside from the obvious (that is to say, 3D printing, digital manufacturing in general, and keyboards) I love learning languages that I will probably never use and I have a nearly pathological addiction to sparkling water. If you ever see me at an event, there is a high chance I will be at a vending machine, lamenting the utter lack of bubbly H2O and dying of thirst.

Large Pixie Pots designed by Natalie.

Olivia's growing collection of wall-mounted keyboards.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Tell us about your first-ever experience with 3D printers and what got you into 3D printing. 

The first time I ever used a printer was when I was trying to 3D print video game props back in 2011. Before then, I made props out of insulation foam covered in fiberglass and spot putty. If you thought ABS smelled bad, you have to get a whiff of polyurethane resin and Bondo. Anyways, when I went to university, my new neighbors weren’t very happy about all the smells and noises I was making. Therefore I had to figure out an odorless and quiet way to make props or give up the hobby entirely. So, like any rational person, I learned blender and bought myself a 3D printer kit. Said printer was a Prusa Mendel. I picked it because at $800 it was one of the most affordable printer kits out there. The only other affordable printers I knew of were the original Makerbot Replicator and the Ultimaker which were more than double the price. It could also print at a positively miniscule 200 micron layer height, which I thought would be great for intricate props. This printer build was the first time I ever soldered anything, or even touched an Arduino, so it was a bit of a disaster. That being said, I did get it to print a cube! I then proceeded to clog the nozzle, try and unclog it with a butane torch, and melted the whole hot end (it was made of PEEK). Good memories.  

A decorative sailing boat model which can be printed without supports.

Japanese inspired keyboard design, created using the Flux3DP laser cutter. 

We’ve been following your design work for a while now and it is exceptional! Why keyboards?  

The story behind keyboards is even longer than my story about how I got into printers! I’ll give you the short version though. I first got into the hobby because I just wanted a cool keyboard that had those clicky keys. Then, my hands started hurting from all the typing I do as a web developer, so I discovered the crazy world of ergonomic keyboards. Ergonomic keyboards tend to be highly customized to the user so they are as comfortable as possible, however a lot of people don’t like them because they look weird with all the extra space between the keys. However, I thought all this extra space would be a great sort of “canvas” for a design to customize the board even further. There are so many designs that you can put on ergonomic keyboards that I had to self-impose a “black and white only” rule, just so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I have a Yin-Yang board, a hypnosis spiral board, soot sprite board, glacier board, etc. Recently I’ve tried designing some classic, non-ergonomic boards, which has been a fun challenge. I don’t limit myself to just black and white with those keyboards though!     

Photobooth - Photography done with a Panasonic Lumix G7.

One of Olivia's iconic designs - Slimetime Custom Keyboard.

You must receive requests for all sorts of designs, have you ever had to say no? Tell us what happened.

Oh that is pretty simple actually: whenever someone comes up with a design request, I encourage them to try and make it themselves. For me, the most rewarding part about 3D printing is seeing your own design materialize before your eyes, so I really encourage people to learn 3D modeling.

What is your favourite 3D printer at the moment?  

At the moment, my favorite printer is the Bambu X1 Carbon. Although, to be fair, it does have an unusual advantage: I recently started an Etsy shop, and the X1 Carbon is the only printer I have that can print the products on it. So, the Bambu X1 Carbon gets the favorite spot, simply because it is enabling me to buy even more machines… like my brand new E3D Toolchanger! That one should also be able to print for my shop and then some, so it might dethrone the X1 Carbon soon.

What’s the best 3D printer that you’ve ever used?  

Oh this is an unfair question! Most people in the community probably don’t know this, but I worked in R&D at a 3D printing startup for a while. Because of this, I had a chance to work with all sorts of amazing printers: a Stratasys FDM machine, an Objet, a full-color binderjet, a farm of Prusa’s, a bunch of Form2’s. I vaguely remember an MJF machine being delivered right before I left. 

Formula One Tracker

Olivia's workspace. It's so organised!

What advances would you like to see in 3D printing in the coming years?    

At the moment, I am really looking forward to advancements in the field of glitter ASA. There have been some improvements over the past few months - however, progress is still slow, particularly with filaments outside of the more-or-less-black spectrum. Hopefully we will see some new offerings later this year.

Penny Farthing String Art, as printed by MarzGizmo

One of Olivia's many amazing 3D printed props.  

Are you attending any industry events this year?

Of course! I’ll be at the Rocky Mountain Reprap fest, Rapid TCT, Midwest Reprap fest, East Coast RepRap Fest, and Sanjay Mortimer RepRap fest. Can’t wait to see you guys! 

What’s your next big project?    

I recently discovered /r/mechanicalheadpens - a sub reddit for people who are into mechanical keyboards, pens, and headphones. Ever since I learned about this crazy overlap of interests, I have been obsessed with the idea of making a matching keyboard/pen/headphone set. Now that I have my Toolchanger, pen kit, and Headamame kit, I should be able to make that happen!

Penny Farthing String Art, as printed by MarzGizmo

Olivia is the proud owener of the first ever publicly released ObXidian nozzles which were auctioned at the Sanjay Mortimer Foundation Fundraiser.

We consider you family at E3D, can you recall any memorable moments with us?

First of all, thank you! I am so glad you guys have adopted me! And since every moment I’ve had with E3D was memorable, I am going to go with the very first. Back in 2015, I was trying to sell some of my printers to afford a bigger, newer machine (the story of my life). Matt, the founder of Printed Solid wound up buying one and suggested that, since I live in the Midwest, I could deliver the printer to him at this little event called MRRF. So, I packed up the printer and followed my GPS to a random barn in a fairgrounds in the middle of Amish country in Indiana. Even though MRRF is a 3D printing tradition now, I will always think it’s a little ironic whenever I drive to the event and get caught behind a buggy. Anyways, the icing on the bizarre-energy cake was that the first people I saw were these two British guys, tweed jackets and all. These guys, of course, were Josh and Sanjay. Instead of going back after delivering the printer, I wound up staying for the whole weekend, and thus started my habit of hanging around the E3D booth whenever I go to a 3D printer event!

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the community?  

For some reason, I have heard a lot of new printing enthusiasts shunning the glue stick and I will not stand for it. The glue stick is perfectly honourable and has done you no wrong.

Get involved in the E3D community!      

We'd like to thank Olivia for taking the time out to share her work and so much more with us. If you want to stay up to date with her latest designs make sure to follow all her socials, you can find me @QDP2D on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Don't forget to check out her Etsy store here

Find lots of other hints and tips from other 3D printing enthusiasts to make your 3D prints better! Join the conversation on Discord, follow our blog, and keep in touch on our socials. Do you have an impressive 3D printing project you’d like us to highlight? Get in touch and we can feature you!