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1846 posts

Uber Geek

# 79191 14-Mar-2011 15:26
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I ordered my MakerBot the other day and I was so excited I started to giggle like a school girl with a little chuckle like a bond villain mixed in for manliness. 

It's still being prepared and should be shipped around the end of the month but i'm thinking there must be a better way to get the plastic. It ends up being fairly expensive once shipping is included and i'm keen to know if anyone knows of a more local source for the 3mm and 1.75mm options. 

Now it's going to be used primarily for my Architectural post grad work, but i'm sure I need some other things to use it on... Thingiverse has a bunch of neat ideas but does anyone have any others? Excluding some minor design rules, if I can model it, I can print it. 

p.s. Anyone else got one? printed anything lately? Also, once it's done its Uni service i'll hopefully offer its services up to people of outstanding moral fiber, and you guys too.

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1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 449131 17-Mar-2011 09:09
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Just got shipping confirmation this morning. I feel a good day coming on. But a bad couple of weeks of waiting.

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  # 449207 17-Mar-2011 12:45
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I get my PLA from Vik at

He has only recently started to do ABS (til now I have got my ABS from Makerbot in the US, but have usually managed to time it when I have had a friend travelling back from the US to save on shipping).

I'm sure you'll have a blast with it when it arrives!! My makerbot (#551) was put together by my son and I over a couple of evenings and part of a weekend, and it's been a super-fun hobby.



1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 449209 17-Mar-2011 12:52
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Cheers Lenbok, that's what i'm after. And a good selection of colours too. Of particular interest is the image of the filament on a spool... I'm sure I can make something to sit that on for ease of long printing sessions.

1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 451769 25-Mar-2011 12:57
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It arrived last night and I spent 4 hours or so putting it together. Just need to wire her up and i'll be away and testing.

I was lucky enough to not get stung with customs which was nice, and had some tough decisions to make on build platforms to use but am excited to get it going.

Will post some images soon if anyone is remotely interested.

1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 452942 28-Mar-2011 21:37
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It's ALIIIIIVE!!, well, that's what i'd be saying if it were actually true.
It seems that my Extruder Controller board has been shipped dead. It won't read temperatures, sends the Extruder heater temps skyrocketing with no end in sight until I shut it down, not to mention makes the toolhead un-findable in replicatorG. I've read that if I had a TinyISP type thing i'd be able to re-flash the board which might fix things, but it could also be a hardware problem.


In regards to the build process the online instructions are for their last generation kit. It's not up to date. There are full instructions for each individual component that has changed since their last gen but it's not all amalgamated into one place. I feel their pain with the constant changes they're implementing to the design and hardware but it's frustrating for people like me who are more than competent to build it, and can make more than enough assumptions on how to do it, but if i make the wrong assumption can break expensive things very easily.

If you're considering buying one and putting it together I can highly recommend looking around the forums for tips by more experienced operators. I've done a few things that are said to be very useful but aren't part of the official instructions.

First was to inclusion of a ground from the Extruder Head to the PSU. Apparently if the solder i've used on the Extruder Head melts and shorts the thermistors then i'll save myself from more damage by having it grounded.

I also had to completely reimagine the location of where the cables are routed as many of the cables on components shipped in the kit are too short to allow for the electronics mounting board to be worked on whilst unattached to the body. Even with the routing I have now, I still need to unplug one connection to do this, but it's better than half of them.

I cannot say it enough. Check pictures of other builds before starting the next stage. There are instructions missing at what I wouldn't call vital parts of the build but make life hard if left out. For example, the Extruder thermistors should have a reading of 2.5 Ohms. If it is any other reading then they're faulty. Mine read 3.0 Ohms... not sure on whether this is a deal breaker yet. The instructions don't tell you this until after the build stage when you cover the extruder head in kapton tape to insulate it all up. Pulling all this tape off of the ceramic tape beneath and the head itself is a PITA.

I'm sure there were other tips regarding calibration and set up as well but I can't recall them right now.

1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 453446 30-Mar-2011 12:01
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First calibration cube printed, more on the way and then i'll be getting into some more serious printing for sure. All it took was a bunch of reading, a beta firmware and i'm sure some luck.

1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 457539 11-Apr-2011 15:20
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I've been doing some printing lately, new images are here.

So far it's been quite an experience. I need to know about melting points of various plastics, how their viscosity can adversely or positively affect print quality, how different connectors perform/degrade at temperatures of +220dC, resistances and thermal properties of common materials, and on and on and on. 

My Uni work has certainly taken a back seat for the last couple of weeks. I'm still tweaking and tinkering but will be fitting a new nozzle in a week or so which will fix some issues but also cause a rebuild to be done and consequent recheck on print settings. 

Next up is to try printing with PLA rather than ABS. ABS is getting a bit stinky and PLA is apparently more fruity in odour which will be nice. 

I think I might do a bit of a write up of the build and trimming process to help remind myself of certain parts and why I did what I did. I'll post it here too for posterity but it'll be a couple of weeks away.


1846 posts

Uber Geek

  # 462609 26-Apr-2011 17:01
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Thought people might be interested in some pics of what i've been building lately.

It's getting pretty dialed in and i'm getting to a point where i'm probably going to start offering it's print services to people at Uni for a nominal fee. Hopefully this will help reduce the costs of the machine in the first place.

If anyone here is interested in checking the viability of printing anything i'd be more than happy to talk.

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