Evangelizing 3D Printing Technology: An Update on Afiniac Sean Huxter

Sean Huxter is an avid “Afiniac” who uses his H479 and H480 3D printers to create impressive toys and collector accessories, innovative household improvement pieces, and thoughtful gifts.

When Quality 3D Prints Get Noticed

Afiniac Sean Huxter admits that his Afinia 3D printers rarely get to rest. In his latest interview, Huxter described his most recent prints, and told us about his recent Maker Faire experience.

3D-printed Emmett's gear
Huxter printed a rack of Emmett’s planetary gears to give away. (Design from Thingiverse).

“One day, I was in a well-known bookstore, and they had recently gotten a 3D printer there, since they are trying to enter more of the technology industry,” explains Huxter. He adds, “I was looking at the printer, and the sales guy asked if he could tell me about 3D printing. I giggled, and explained that I’m very familiar with the technology.”

While Huxter was at the bookstore, he also saw a flyer about a Maker Faire that they were hosting. “After asking about it, I was given the coordinator’s phone number and called her to tell her I’d love to be involved,” he says. “At first, she agreed, but explained that I wouldn’t be able to bring my Afinia 3D printer or sell anything. After she saw some of my creations, she changed her mind and said I could bring everything in and show it off! She also invited me to present to a school a few days before the Maker Faire. There was tons of interest and everyone was fascinated.”

Maker Faires and PTA Meetings

Huxter's 3D-printed samples.
Huxter’s samples that he brought to the Maker Faire.

“While I was at the Maker Faire, I printed the single-piece robot I had designed for Afinia. At the end of the day, I gave it to a little kid, and he loved it. I also brought lots of samples and people thought they were fantastic,” recalls Huxter. It was part of what prompted him to decide that it was time to start selling some of his creations. “Right now I just want to make sure I am ready to keep up with demand before I open an Etsy store*,” he says.

“I also got invited back to go to a PTA meeting for the middle school to show all the parents and some of the students the 3D printer. They couldn’t get enough of it. One of the parents asked what I got out of showing off the printer… for me, it’s just about spreading the word,” explains Huxter.

Evangelizing 3D Printing Technology for Education

Huxter and students with the H480 3D printer.
Huxter takes a photo with kids who were interested in the 3D printing booth at the Maker Faire.

Huxter compares how he evangelizes 3D printing technology like he evangelized the Commodore 64. “I want to get people involved with technology, and I want them to do cool things. In 1980, schools hadn’t gotten computers. So to me, the 3D printer is today what the computer was to 1980. It’s incredibly important for schools to have one… 3D printing is ‘the next step.’ Give a 3D printer to a student—of any age—and you never know what they’ll create. We just need break the barrier in some schools of finding people who know how to model and use 3D software so they can teach the students.”

A Sean of Many Trades

Huxter’s 3D-prints have ranged from cartoonish toys, to amazing replicas, to household items. But he doesn’t call it quits there. “I’m currently working on an artistic piece,” he shares. “I wanted to create something that was pure art. No practicality, no function… just art. It’s done in translucent blue glow-in-the-dark filament for the base, and has geometric cubes in white. This isn’t my first artistic print—I’ve done a silhouette of my daughter, and the Narwhal piece for my wife, but this one is more abstract.”

One of Huxter's books, available on Amazon.com.
One of Huxter’s books, available on Amazon.com.

It turns out Huxter is also good at story-telling, if you haven’t been able to decipher this from his well-written blog. “I’ve self-published two books, which are both available online. One of the books even has a couple of copies at my local bookstore. One book is a young adult fantasy, and the other is a hard-boiled detective series of short stories.” In addition, Huxter has also created a board game (that includes 3D-printed pieces). When asked how he does it all, Huxter simply states, “I do as many things as I can! Life’s about learning cool, fun things, and I try to do as much as that as possible.”

*Update, 6/7/16: Huxter has now opened his Etsy shop, where he sells his own line of Werblz.