Sunday, July 31, 2011

Makerbot!

Makerbot

Back in June I jumped on the Makerbot Industries Father's day sale and picked up a Cupcake CNC Ultimate with a Plastruder MK5 and an automated build platform! While I like the Makerbot, I always thought it was a bit expensive. However, when they were selling it for $455 with the MK5 and ABP, I knew that I had to get it.

Putting the 'bot together was relatively straight forward and easy. It also helped that since this was the older model, the Cupcake CNC, there was plenty of documentation online. Unfortunately, I've hit two issues so far.
  1. The Automated Build Platform causes prints to fall off prematurely. The ABP contains a heating element and a PTE plastic conveyor belt that completely automates the printing process. The heating elements makes sure that the build does not cool too quickly and the conveyor belt removes the object from the build area once it is done. In my experience, the ABP was a nuisance because the PTE belt began to warp after a couple of builds, causing the prints to fall off mid-print. My robotics teacher recommended replacing the belt with this, but I wasn't able to find a cheap supply of titanium foil. My solution was to remove the heating element from the ABP, cover it with Kapton tape, and mount it to the old, non-ABP build platform. That, coupled with always printing with a raft, seems to have fixed my issue. If given the option, I would suggest choosing the Heated Build platform over the ABP.
  2. The MK5 DC motor stopped working. To put it bluntly, the motor in my plastruder has stopped turning. I've tried every possible thing to fix it--checking the wiring, checking the gearbox, checking my skeinforge settings--and have had no success. Makerbot even posted a page on their wiki about it. They seemed to have ironed out the issues with the new StepStruder MK6, but I didn't want to buy a new extruder. I contacted their customer support and they're sending me a new motor. (BTW, I must say that the Makerbot customer service is one of the best I've dealt with; they reply promptly and replace broken components asap)
Overall, I've been quite happy with my purchase and I hope to fix all of my printing issues soon.

(I realize that there has been a lack of posts, this should change in the near future)