Let's Make Robots!

Got $1299,- to spare?

Then I would recomend that you have a look at the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer http://www.makerbot.com/

With my 50 birthday coming up, my family chipped in and got me one of those fabulous machines. And I must admit that I’m totally blown away by the quality of the print and the robustness of the ABS plastic parts that is printed.

It comes as a kit, but the joy of building it is almost worth the 1300 by itself. If you can remember the joy of your first LED blinker then the feeling of your Sketchup model coming to life in front of you is far beyond that feeling.

Until now I have drilled, cut and bent pieces of aluminum plate to make stuff, or made a blob of polymorph for those odd shaped brackets I need. No more! Now I can make almost anything with a high precision that I had no way of building before.

And there is a whole community of people uploading part for anyone to print over at http://www.thingiverse.com/
Some of you might recall that I had some problems with a bead sorter http://letsmakerobots.com/node/18124 now it turns out that there is a person that has made a part just for that  http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7332

I’m only in the beginning of this adventure, but the other day I needed a holder for a mag wire spool and a bracket for a 40 RPM motor to wind some electro magnets.  A quick Google Sketchup and an hour (or two) later I had all my parts.

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Man I would love one of these. 

How is the precision on it ?

The precision is very good. I printed out a test cube 20x20x10mm and it came out 19.8 x 20.0 x 10.0 so I might tighten up the X-axis, but for most of my work 0.2mm precision is more than enough.
What can be a problem are small circles, so the best approached is to design it under dimensioned and drill it up to correct size. There is also a limit of the overhang that can’t be more than 45 degrees.

Wow thats way better than what it thought! The overhang limit might be a bit of a pain but there must be ways to work around it.  

Could realy use one to print new parts for my nitro car (dam thing chews up gears and brakes a different part everytime). 

Well keep us updated on your prints and maybe a video of the beast in action :) 

Drooling with envy, but right now such a thing is too much to spend. Maybe on my 50th birthday...

As the young guy you are Ignoblegnome, these printers have probably dropped in price and gotten much better by the time you turn 50 :-)

How big of stuff can you make with that?

 

* Interface: Print through USB or print from SD card
* Size: 300 x 300 x 410 mm (12″ W x 12″ D x 16″ H)
* Build Area: 96 x 108 mm
* Build Height: 115 mm
* Generation 4 Electronics
* Supports up to 5 stepper drivers (XYZ + A/B)
* Connect over USB (no more FTDI cable)
* Optional LCD interface support (Not included)
* Full mechanical endstop support
* High current mosfets to drive heated build platform and extruder heater
* Thermocouple support for more accurate temperature sensing
* Upgraded, extra strength ATX power supply
* Works with both 110v and 220v power
* Theoretical XY Positioning resolution of 0.02mm (20 microns or 0.0008″)
* Theoretical XY Maximum Feedrate of up to 5000mm/minute (roughly 200 IPM)
* Theoretical Z Positioning resolution of 0.005mm (5 microns / or 0.0002″)
* Theoretical Z Positioning Feedrate of up to 1000mm/minutes (roughly 40 IPM)
* Capable of printing with ABS and PLA

Wow, I always want to try it. Do you need a lot of work to reshape it after?

This fare I haven’t done any reshaping. The only thing I might do is to drill small holes to correct size.
The ABS plastic is very easy to work with and cuts easily. You might get a shiny finish by using Acetone (even waterproof).
From my point of view the quality is great straight out of the printer.

The yellow brackets and the spools (in the back of the picture) is straight out of the printer

Thanks for the info. Wow, nice quality~ I must get one soon or later.