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:

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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.





Welding 3D Printed Steel

16 09 2011

All photos.

My shopmate had a TIG welder here the other day.

I took the opportunity to try welding the 3D printed metal parts I made last year:

These are intended to be coil holders, so I installed a 40 turn coil prior to welding.

Mike welding the halves together:

We used no filler rod on the theory that the infused bronze would melt and form a braze of sorts.

It worked very well:

The coil insulation didn’t survive: The coil is conductive to the casing.

I’m encouraged by the weldability. I am ordering more test parts to keep pushing this approach.





New Materials for Electron Beam Melting

26 07 2011

Previously I looked into Arcam’s 3D Metal process. At the time, Arcam’s Ti6Al4V Titanium Alloy seemed the best option.

Today I checked back to Arcam’s materials page and it’s been expanded to include:

I’m happy to see stainless steel and amorphous metals (although the stainless 17-4 is magnetic).

Soon I will be ordering calibration parts using a variety of 3D printing technologies and materials.

UPDATE: Also check out this amazing polishing technology: Electron Beam Machining. This might be perfect for polishing 3D printed  metal pieces.




Glazed Ceramic 3D Printing

7 07 2011

This BoingBoing post illustrates the latest in glazed ceramic 3D printing.

I purchased this coffee cup:

I bought it because it’s cool, and to test the electrical and outgassing properties of the printed ceramic.

It may be possible to build custom ceramics for the magrid/standoffs with this process.

If I can braze this ceramic to metal… we can build almost anything.

Here are the design rules for this printing process.








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