MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Upgrades

29 11 2011

Not only can the Makerbot print its own upgrades. But these upgrades really improve the print quality. A virtuous cycle!

At this point my MakerBot TOM is finely tuned and making beautiful prints.

Here are all the upgrades I have installed:

Y-Axis Idler Support Bracket for Thing-O-Matic: This stabilizes the Y-axis idler.

Easy Install Thing-O-Matic Universal X & Y Axis Belt Tensioner: This is the single most important upgrade. The belt must be correctly tensioned for good prints!

HBP Quick Leveler Redux: Another essential upgrade to easily level the build platform.

Thing-O-Matic Electronics Side-Mount: At some point you will need to tweak the electronics. This mod makes it easier.

Thingomatic y-axis Endcaps: These endcaps make it easier to remove the Y-axis rods.

MakerBot Cable Clip: Nice clips for cable management.

Simple Tool Holder: Organize all the hex wrenches that come with your MakerBot.

I purchase two upgrades from MakerBot that are well worth it:

Aluminum Build Surface: This gives you nice flat and level prints. Seems like this should be included with the Thing-O-Matic!

MakerBot® Gen 4 Interface Board Kit v1.1: This allows you to run your MakerBot without a computer attached.

 

Here is an example print:





Leeds Radio

18 11 2011

NYT is covering Leeds Radio. My favorite spot for electronics in NYC!

Richard is an awesome dude… very knowledgeable and great stories of EE insanity.

I’ve learned much about the history of electronics just from his inventory. The vacuum tube era was a whole nother way of doing things.

NYT: Leeds Radio.

 





MakerBot Madness!

18 11 2011

All photos. More photos. More. And More.

So man this MakerBot TOM is fun!

I’ve been printing up a storm.

When you start using a MakerBot, you quickly realize you need a filament spooling solution. My starter filament became a tangled mess quickly.

I tried this filament spool but it had too much friction and would stop the extruder sometimes.

So I tried this frictionless design:

 

It works beautifully.

Next I printed this test lead organizer I really needed:

 

For fun I made this hyperboloid pencil holder:

 

I printed a lid from Polywell design I made a while back:

 

Then I realized MakerBot can print it’s own upgrades! So amazing.

I made these removable endcaps, this strain relief cable holder,  this Y-Axis Idler Support Bracket.

And last night I made this amazing diamond lattice model:

 

You can follow all my builds from my thingiverse profile.





MakerBot

13 11 2011

All photos.

The Makerbot is up and running. It was fun to put together.

I was able to do a few test prints:





3D Printed Bronze

9 11 2011

All photos.

Years ago I looked into Prometal’s 3D metal printing process. The results were impressive but the stainless steel is magnetic:

This disqualified them as magnet holders!

Recently Prometal let me know about an experimental bronze process they are developing. Bronze is totally non-magnetic. BINGO!

Prometal donated a test part to see if I could make an airtight braze with a TIG welder:

The part was to be brazed to a Swagelok VCR fitting like this:

Prometal is still adjusting the process. This test part is a bit oversize so it was difficult to braze, but we got something:

The bronze attaches to the stainless nicely.

I was excited to put it in the chamber like this:

But I screwed up. I welded on the wrong VCR cajon. This one is two short to catch the male thread once the gasket is added.

Dammit.

I had the right part here all along; shown on the left:

So no vaccum check for now. But it looks like the 3D printed bronze parts braze nicely.

I count that as a win. Think of the parts I can make with 3D printed bronze + brazing.





MakerBot + OpenSCAD

8 11 2011

When I started this project 3 years ago, one of the first things I did was build a reprap. Sadly the state of the art  just wasn’t there yet. I assembled the reprap, but it never worked well enough to print.

Since then I’ve been following the impressive progress of the reprap and then MakerBot. All along I’ve been using 3D printing services like shapeways, with a 2 week turn around. That’s a painfully long time to wait only to discover your design doesn’t work.

So I have purchased the latest Makerbot Thing-O-Matic with MK7 extruder. It should arrive in 4 weeks. Can’t wait!

Along the way I discovered OpenSCAD, an open source solid modeling program for programmers. I like it. It’s easier than the ruby + BRL-CAD I’ve been using. Additionally there is broad community support.

I’m rebuilding my polywell models in OpenSCAD now. I’ve gotten this far:








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