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Making a Makerbot (part 6) – printed replacement XY stage

One of the most interesting things about the Makerbot 3D printer is that it can be used to repair, or even upgrade, itself. After a substantial run of large prints, the bushings that hold the X & Y platform had started to wear out, and the print stage was becoming wobbly. This translated into unsightly […]

Making a Makerbot (part 5) – Kapton and Makergear nozzle

Last time I checked in, I had added the heated build platform and a Paxtruder to the Makerbot. However, things were not quite perfect: things were not sticking to the platform, and I kept getting occasional jams in the nozzle. I could tell things were not quite moving, because I could see the filament “snaking” […]

Making a Makerbot (part 4) – Paxtruder

An area that causes problems in the Makerbot is the filament drive mechanism. It has to be adjusted just so, or the filament will get jammed or strip. The system that keeps the filament engaged with the drive wheel is an acrylic idler wheel, which is sometimes uneven or wobbles. Also, the adjustment for idler […]

Making a Makerbot (part 3) – heated build platform

I got around to assembling the heated build platform for my Makerbot. The heated platform is super-useful, as it prevents printed pieces from warping as they cool, and removes (sometimes) the need for a “raft” to help pieces adhere to the platform.

Heated build platform in action, printing an Escher cookie cutter

I’d been […]

Making a Makerbot (part 2)

Added some additional finishing touches to the Makerbot today to make disassembly easier, and make it easier to manage.

First, a terminal block mounted on the extruder body. This allows individually disconnecting the motor and the heater barrel from the extruder, and using shorter wires.

Terminal block on extruder head

Unfortunately, the spacing on […]

Calibrating skeinforge for a Makerbot

I recently built a Makerbot, and have been working on getting it to print nice-looking objects. This was an interesting learning process, and I thought I’d outline what I did, in case it is of interest. Most of the effort was in configuring a software tool called Skeinforge, a program that will take a 3D […]

Making a Makerbot (part 1)

I recently put together Makerbot #1479, from Batch XIII. This is a simple 3D printer, a device that actually prints real objects using ABS plastic. It’s sold as a kit of parts for self-assembly.

The process was quite straightforward, but I made a number of modifications that seem to make it more reliable and easy […]