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Alex Overgard: 3D Printer, 1500 MPS!

Alex Overgard is a very intriguing young man.

Alex Overgard

He fences, trains parkour (and instructs classes), plays piano and guitar — and builds “cool, unique, entertaining and useful new things.” A rising senior at Staples, he has taken courses like Technology Education that have helped him channel his skills.

He also hangs out at the Westport Library’s MakerSpace, sharing information and ideas, teaching, and learning new tricks.

He designed and built his own electrical fencing foil dagger, and a nerf gun that shoots over 20 darts per second.

Alex’s latest project is a 3D printer.

But it’s hardly a typical off-the-shelf model. He built one that he calls “one of the world’s fastest.”

From scratch.

Alex Overgard’s work space …

The project was part of an Independent Learning Experience at Staples. A panel of advisors oversaw his work. They admitted they knew less about the technology than he does, so part of Alex’s work was to document and explain the details.

He completed the challenge early — and received perfect marks.

Along the way, Alex scoured the internet for parts — from special controller boards to “enough screws to cover the wall-to-wall carpeting in my room.”

It took 4 months to design, collect and assemble all the pieces. He had to create his own firmware too. But whereas most 3D  printers — even the most expensive — travel 50 to 150 millimeters per second,  Alex’s blazes along at 1,500.

“The live feed camera streamed to my iPhone (and control device) can’t even keep up with the movements of the machine,” he says. “All you see is a blur.”

“It accelerates faster than the force of gravity, and gets hotter than 500 degrees Celsius. It’s mind-blowing.”

… and a closeup of his 3D printer. (Photos/Alex Overgard)

One of his secrets is a very powerful extruder and healer element. The part that heats up the plastic filament can reach 600 degrees Celsius.

“I’m on the verge of figuring out how to print with aluminum without setting everything on fire,” he says.

Don’t try that at home.

Unless you’re Alex Overgard.

(“06880” is not as creative as Alex Overgard. But we do what we can. And we could not do it without readers’ support. Please click here to help.)


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