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Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Review 117

Posted by timothy
from the not-for-the-faint-of-heart dept.
rsk points out this "review of the $1200 Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D printer. After a 16-hour self-assembly and a few weeks of use, a blown PSU was replaced with a higher powered PSU via a mod to the Thing-o-Matic. Video of the Thing-o-Matic printing out little solar panel mounts from Google Sketch-up included in the review. Final thoughts suggest that the Thing-o-Matic is not a great gift for non-engineers: 'You need a decent understanding of robotics, hardware, software, electronics and mechanics, need a little hand dexterity and a ton of patience.'"
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Makerbot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Review

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  • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Friday January 21, 2011 @10:59PM (#34962578) Journal
    The Smell Of Molten Solder In The Morning [softsolder.com] blog has spent the last week and change writing about mods he's done to his thing-o-matic, with sections on reducing static buildup [softsolder.com] that can discharge and fry electronics, rewiring part of the power supply [softsolder.com] to allow separate volatile and high-power sections, and thermally characterizing and modifying [softsolder.com] the heater system on the extruder head, including a big chunk on how to calibrate thermocouples.

    I'm looking forwards to seeing what he builds once he's gotten done rebuilding the machine.

    Sure, it's a lot of work to put into a brand-new machine, but anyone who has bought a Chinese mill or lathe machine knows that a right-out-of-the-box rebuild sure helps the accuracy [mini-lathe.com]. Even with simple tools like wood chisels, the first thing you do is resharpen them because the from-the-factory job is nearly worthless, so it's hardly surprising that an amateur-designed, amateur-built, and kit-built-by-amateur 3D printer would need some work.

  • by dbc (135354) on Friday January 21, 2011 @11:22PM (#34962682)

    I've had one of the Makerbot Cupcakes for quite a while. Great fun to build and operate -- if you are a tinkerer and enjoy making things work, and tweaking them until they work, and tuning them again when they quit working. If you don't happen to have the tinkerer gene, then they are not for you. I tell anyone that asks me about it: "It's not turnkey like a laser printer, it's a lifestyle choice."

    Outrageous good fun, though, if you like that sort of thing. My last few prints: a pair of wheels for a robot, a bracket to mount an Android phone on a robot, and a cookie cutter to give as a gift. In between, my daughter has been printing doll house furniture.

  • Re:I would think... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @12:00AM (#34962868) Homepage Journal

    I've played around with a makerbot. It might seem like the plastic would jiggle on the moving base, but it really isn't a problem at all.

    The biggest problem I've seen with the makerbot is the z-axis, the standard bars are too flexible, causing alignment problems on taller objects.

    My verdict on the makerbot: toy, not tool.

  • Re:I would think... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Z34107 (925136) on Saturday January 22, 2011 @12:40AM (#34963018)

    Maximum PC did an article on this thing. They managed to print a whistle (with the captive pea inside). One Cathal Garvey, a geneticist, is using it to stave off having to buy a few million worth of lab equipment; see the dremel-powered centrifuge [thingiverse.com] or the microlathe. [thingiverse.com]

    So, it's not perfect or self-replicating, but you can do some cool stuff with it. Non-geneticists might appreciate being able to machine replacements [thingiverse.com] for all the brittle plastic shit that can break, or just get their own Master Chief [thingiverse.com] statue.

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