Sunday, April 12, 2009


All Geared Up

The past month has been a flurry of activity over here at MakerBot. Since we launched the prototype design we spend about 2 weeks working day and night to perfect the CupCake CNC design. Then we had to transition to production, as well as document the whole thing in its entirety. That whole process is very involved, and to be honest a bit boring. Creating detailed parts lists down to the last nut and bolt, writing docs, re-writing docs, taking pictures, re-taking pictures to get a better shot and all that stuff really pales in comparison to actually sitting down and printing stuff out.

3D Printed Gear

Luckily we've managed to find time to chill out and print some stuff under the guise of 'fine tuning the print parameters' and 'debugging the code'. The happy folks over at Thingiverse have been very productive lately and have been cranking out cool designs for us (and you!) to print. These are some gears that we printed. We've also been working on a secret model that we're printing. We'll be blowing your minds soon with that, don't worry. Anyway, I'll stop blabbing for now. Here are the gears!

3D Printed Gear

These gears were made by by a Blender script that generates gears. You can check out some of its models in Thingiverse. This awesome script allows you to generate all sorts of gears, including gear racks and such. really rad! We printed a few of them and they mesh very nicely, and the ABS they are printed on is very strong. I like them alot.

3D Printed Gear

Interesting side note: once you have solid 3D positioning hardware and a solid extruder, then its all about the software. If you look closely these gears are both pretty much exactly the same. They even have the same defects, which means that if we improve the software to not cause those defects then the printing quality is improved. Ya gotta love being able to download improved software to improve a physical device.

Oh, and if you're wondering: the CupCake CNC kit will be shipping this Wednesday the 15th. We have 5 presale kits left. As a special bonus to people who order the presale, we're including the bonus toolkit with all the tools you need to build it (stuff like solder paste, an avr programmer, hex keys, PSU, plastic, etc, etc.)

Very nice. I can't wait to print out my own gears to try.

For me, it's nice to have some items like this to show off, as it demonstrates the practical side of RepRap much better than the D&D dice (although I am going to have to print that first, in order to toast the machine).

By the way, I assume that since you're giving away all the tools in the pre-order kits, that there isn't any issue with shipping solder-paste unrefrigerated?

In Australia (Jaycar) only sells it from a fridge behind the counter, whether or not that's necessary I have no idea.
Solder paste is fine at room temperatures, however it has solvents in it (I think) and the shelf life of paste is much extended if it is stored cool. I think the solder paste I use has only a 3 or 6 month storage life but I have used 2 year old stuff kept in a fridge.

Ian McCrum
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