obligatory obscure reference

self-deprecating yet still self-promotional witty comment


cupcake + gen 4 + hbp + mk7 + 0027alpha ==> works!

Filed under: MakerBot — jet @ 13:51

Well, it’s working, and quite nicely. I don’t have the print range of a TOM, but I have quality, and that’s what I was after.

The trick to getting it all working was replacing the Z stepper that shipped with Cupcake #235 and replacing it with a more powerful one from Lin Engineering (which required a new metric pulley from SDPSI). The Z-table is now quite zippy and does not stall like the old one did.

Photos and parts lists to be posted everything’s a scattered mess in the aftermath of Pittsburgh MiniMaker Faire, the lasersaur build, fixing my mom’s laptop, and a thousand other papercuts.


A trick for making hollow manifolds

Filed under: MakerBot — jet @ 20:45

I wanted to make a sturdy-but-hollow manifold for the air assist on my lasersaur. I ended up using a trick I’ve seen in catacombs and gothic structures — internal support columns.

The STL and images are posted over on thingiverse. The short of it is:

  1. make a hollow object
  2. determine which way will be up/down when you print it
  3. add columns along this axis that are close enough together and to the edge that the spanning shells will hold
  4. print!

Here’s an example: The top piece is a completed print, the bottom is a partial print showing the base, rotated 90 degrees. You can see the starts of the three columns that support the rest of the print and the inlet (the big hole on the top print) and the outlet on the other side of the print:

manifold internals

It’s really just that simple.


modular tool rack for the Cupcake

Filed under: MakerBot — jet @ 22:54

A bit behind on the blogging thing these days due too much ‘real’ work, but I thought I’d show off one of my latest mini-projects. It’s a modular tool-rack for the MakerBot Cupcake, published on thingiverse as modular tool-holder rack.


new list for open source fabrication

Filed under: Arduino,Hacking,MakerBot,Metalworking — jet @ 08:15

I’ve been using open source software at work since the late 80s and have spent the past couple of years experimenting with Arduino, Reprap, Makerbot, and I’m getting involved with early lasersaur development.

It’s my strong opinion that over the next year open source hardware will really start making an impact in the local and small-scale fabrication space. While there are plenty of shops using EMC2 in large-scale fabrication, the learning curve is steep and EMC2 is focused on subtractive machining operations. There are no fundamental patents on things like mills or lathes to deal with, but a lot of the control circuits and interfaces used are proprietary or at least closed source.

With lasersaur using grbl, Makerbot using (and supporting) ReplicatorG, and the increase of quality tools like Inkscape and OpenSCAD I think we’re finally seeing small-scale manufacturing with a toolchain almost entirely made of open source hardware and software. (I’m not going to wade into the argument about whether or not it’s “real” open source if you’re still buying steppers or power supplies or other COTS items. :-)

In order to help move this process along, I’ve created a new mailing list, opensourcefab, and am working on a wiki/web forum as well.

My goal for this list (and for the forum that will soon go online) is to create a space for those of us who want to use these tools for serious fabrication. Maybe you make/sell model railroad components or build big skeery robots or work at an in-house shop making spares but we’re all interested in the same thing — using open source tools in a production environment.



cupcake + gen4 + mk6 progress

Filed under: Arduino,MakerBot — jet @ 22:08

Turns out my boards were dead, MakerBot RMA’d them and the new ones seem to be working just fine for manual controls and temp settings. Will do some test runs, get some end-stops made, and post a how to in the next week or so.


maker hell

Filed under: Hacking,MakerBot,Rants — jet @ 08:39

Well, that didn’t go so well. After a couple of weeks of fussing and fighting with Gen 4 electronics it appears I have a bad motherboard. Countless hours of diags down the drain because of a bad board.

Something we in the open source hardware need to adopt is the idea of standardized tests / QE. If I were at work, the first thing we’d have done was toss the mobo in the “to be re-tested” pile and grabbed a fresh one to see if we could replicate the problem.

On the up side, while researching the problems I was having, I stumbled across a great blog that every Makerbot owner should read.


watch this space

Filed under: Hacking,MakerBot — jet @ 11:21

My Gen 5 electronics and Stepstruder have arrived and I’m in the process of bolting them onto Makerbot Cupcake #235. I’ve got it mostly working and will document it fully once it’s done.


A new twist on yet another DIY 2M ground plane antenna

Filed under: Amateur Radio,Hacking,MakerBot — jet @ 23:26

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve come up with a simple mount for making portable/storable 2M ground plane antennas. They aren’t nearly as sturdy once they’re deployed, but they’re easy to fold up and store behind the seat of your truck, carry on your bicycle, etc.

If you have a MakerBot, RepRap, or other 3D printer, I’ve posted the STL over on Thingiverse. If you don’t have access to such a printer I’m in the process of setting up a store on Shapeways.

I’ll have more photos soon, including some ideas on how to store/transport the antenna.


instructions for making a heated build platform for the makerbot

Filed under: MakerBot,Metalworking — jet @ 13:21

My first Instructable, how to make a heated build platform for the Makerbot.

Also, we still have heated build platform kits in the store.


Thinking of building a Mendel…

Filed under: Hacking,MakerBot — jet @ 20:49

Building the Makerbot Cupcake was pretty straightforward and it’s been a lot of fun playing with it. My biggest problem right now is the print envelope — 80mmx80mm is all you can realistically hope for, and that’s with a heated platform to control warpage. I’ve made some useful bits for my bike computer project and cranked out a bunch of new year’s ornaments, but other than that I haven’t been using it much. Everything I want to print is too big, either in terms of warpage or in terms of x/y size.

Since I’m interested in bigger things, so I’m looking into building bigger printers. (Anyone who wants to buy me a Stratasys can ask and I’ll give them the delivery address…) One option is to build a Mendel which has an envelope of 200mmx200mm. Another is to figure out how to put a print head on something really big, like a knee mill or a large CNC plasma table.

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