Maker Spotlight: Maarten Van Lier

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Maker Spotlight: Maarten Van Lier

Where do you live?

I live in Muskego, Wisconsin

What is your job?

I used to work as a Software Architect for  FICO (the credit score company) designing Business Rules Systems for the Fortune 500. After 17 years of getting on a plane every week, I decided to retire early in 2014. I have been making since.


Web Site | Twitter | Instructables | GrabCAD

How did you get started making?

The first machine I made was a CNC machine based on the “Build Your own CNC Machine” book by Patrick Hood-Daniel and James Floyd Kelly. I then realized that with a little (or a lot of) guidance, anyone can build anything. I joined Milwaukee Makerspace in 2014 where I fell in love with the smell of the metal working shop (my Dad had a similar workshop at the Technical school where he taught, it brought back good memories). At the Makerspace I made the first components for the first 3D printer I built. I’ve since taught myself Fusion 360 and won’t implement anything without designing it in Fusion 360 first.


What type of maker would you classify yourself as?

Passionate, sharing, broke, full time and strongly focused on 3D printing, with the aim to add twists to the 3D printers I design/build.

The first printer I built, I made out of laminated Acrylic (not just the frame) laser cut at Milwaukee Makerspace. For the second printer I went with a CoreXY configuration. The third is built around a NETGEAR router case and has a belt driven Z-axis. The most recent printer (the C3Dt/c) is not only full of features but I tried to design it aesthetically as well. For it, I designed “universal” linear guides that could be applied to any machine.

I believe sharing is an important factor in making and the maker community. I try to make all my designs available through public platforms and I like to engage with those that try to make what I’ve made before them.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?

I’m really proud of the last Cantilever Printer (the C3Dt/c) I designed and built, but my favorite (and daily workhorse) remains my CoreXY. I try to keep improving it to hopefully one day have it perfect.

What’s something you’d like to make next?

I’m working on something that is a peripheral to 3D Printing that I don’t think has been done yet (and am not entirely ready to share yet). It’s my first true invention and I hope to show it at Midwest RepRap Festival in 2019. Less lofty goals are to build a Delta Printer and I recently learned about SCARA 3D printers so that may be one of the next designs/implementations.

Any advice for people reading this?

Building your own 3D printer is extremely fun and you’ll be surprised at what you’re capable of with some help from the community. Don’t do it for budgetary reasons though; I’ve built, what I think of as, budget 3D printers but I can’t compete the vast amount of cheap options on the market.


Maarten will also be at Maker Faire Milwaukee presenting four 3D printers that he has designed and built over the last few year to show that anyone can do it. Meet him and his machines September 28-30, 2018 at the Expo Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, Wisconsin.

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I love making things and sharing with others. I help run Milwaukee Makerspace and produce Maker Faire Milwaukee.

View more articles by Pete Prodoehl