My Spinal Tap Moment

No, I didn’t turn it up to eleven.

The whole thing kicked off a week ago when my beautiful and talented wife Marie Anne Chiment asked me if I could print a half-dozen Metropolitan Police Helmet Plates for one of her shows (The Pirates of Penzance, for Philly’s Maugkingbird Theatre; 8/20 to 9/4).  We’d been talking about 3-D printing and so it wasn’t an out of the blue topic.  Even so, the very idea was more than a little intriguing.

As luck would have it, I found a 3-D model of the helmet plate online, at TurboSquid.  A quick upload to Shapeways (a job shop) and I congratulated myself on how easy-peasy the whole thing was.  All in all, it took something like eight minutes to research the idea, find the model and place the order.  Welcome to our Brave New World.

It was supposed to take two weeks to be done but to make matters even more pleasing, the box showed up on Saturday; only four days after we placed our order.  Matters took a left turn, however, when we opened the box.  For a start, it seemed like there was nothing in there except a whole lot of bubble wrap.  I was about to toss it all and call the company to complain that they sent me an empty box when Marie noticed there was a tiny zip-lock envelope inside.

Helmet Plate

Well, as luck would have it, we got exactly what we ordered.  It was supposed to be 4 1/2″ tall, but for some reason when I clicked the publish button, the print size reverted to something less than 1/2″ tall.  (See the little white smudge to the right of the big badge on Marie’s palm)

Needless to say, when we realized what happened we couldn’t stop laughing.  You know that moment in Spinal Tap when the band orders an 18-foot tall Stonehenge only to have it show up being 18″ tall; we know what that feels like!

Needless to say, this was some of the best wasted money we’ve ever spent.  I have no doubt that we’ll be telling this story until the cows come home.

Let’s hope the next printing turns out . . .bigger!

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