MakerBot Magic

TechNinja's picture

During Bay Area Maker Faire this year, Sylvia and I happened to meet one of the founders of MakerBot Industries, Bre Pettis! (A more thoroughly awesome dude you would be hard-pressed to meet).

Bre Pettis and Super Awesome Sylvia holding a picture of Sylvia and Bre in 2009
We first met Bre back at Bay Area Maker Faire 2009, better known then for his great Make: Weekend Projects videos and other grand works.

While in line talking over some things, he gave us an opportunity to finally get our hands on the latest and greatest the MI team has to offer, the Thing-O-Matic! With super precision rods and timing belts, and an automated conveyer belt driven build platform, it's capable of churning out part after part automatically. Not to mention the uber-slick stepstruder MK6+ with fast heat up times and less wires to get in the way. Just look at that laser-cut wood and acrylic beauty!

Sylvia has claimed it and I'm sure in no time it will be painted pink.

Midway through the build process. The kitchen table is barely visible
We got the boxed kit on Friday, and by Monday it was done (pretty much). The kit is not for the lighthearted. Unless you do this kind of thing all the time, you're going to be looking for better tools (a strong steel vise is a very good bet to get you out of a few tight spots). You will get dirty. Your fingers will most definitely hurt. Really though, it's all part of the experience. I wouldn't have such knowledge and admiration for the machine if I hadn't cut the tubing for the rubber rollers myself, or screwed up the orientation of at least THREE major parts, only 5 steps later realizing it, meaning all the previous steps had to be completely dismantled and removed before I could continue.

Without this work and repetition, I wouldn't at all have been willing to bust open the bot after having "finished" it, to rip out the malfunctioning controller board and jury-rig an ICSP programmer from an old Arduino and burn a bootloader onto it (Which I did and it totally fixed it). I feel confident that if this thing burst into flames I could probably put it out and using only hair pins, gaffer tape and some coat hangers could have it working in no time. (At least as good as a rep-rap ;)

On the left, the 3D knot, and on the right, a whistle. Yes, it does work, and it's FAR too loud to trust with a 4 year old.

The prints come out great after some calibration. These would be our third and forth prints resectively, and I think they came out swimmingly. The ABS Plastic is incredibly strong, so I can't wait to design up something with more practical uses. Sylvia on the other hand has some interesting ideas on her own. We'll be posting our design up to the Universe of Things as soon as we get the hang of it, and get a little more spare time.