Secrets Revealed

I opened the mysterious box to find a Cupcake CNC machine by Makerbot Industries. I’ll be taking it with me to Atlanta for the FIRST Robotics Competition.

Cupcake CNC is a 3D printer that uses plastic wire to make 3D objects. CNC stands for computer numerically controlled. It’s similar technology to what was used to print velociraptor sound chamber at the beginning of Jurassic Park III (random film references are fun). A Cupcake CNC is in a class of machines called makerbots, any robot that makes things for you. This one can make things about the size of a cupcake (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm).

I printed a few objects to show my family and they all started with the same question, “what can you do with it?” My father sat watching a cupcake print for fourteen minutes and appreciated how he had watched something be created from plastic spagetti and noticed the raft makes a nice screen. My mother spotted the FIRST logo, held it up to her ear, and made note of how great the machine would be for making earrings. My two nieces just wanted to make more cupcakes.

Let’s take a look at what we have in the picture.

The wooden box is the Cupcake CNC. I tricked it out with a string of blue LEDs, which I got from Freecycle, tapped into an open 12 volt source from the power supply. I did this hoping to make the object being printed easier to see. Looks cool too.

The little plastic things scattered about are objects printed from the 3D models on Thingiverse. If you have an interesting 3D object or other thing to share, go ahead and upload it. Post a link in the comments and I’ll try to print it out while I’m in Atlanta.

The red squares are non-functional circuit boards that I plan on handing out to folks at FIRST. I printed our team information along with “Makerbot Industries” onto clear mailing labels from Staples and stuck them to the boards.

I’ll also be handing out buttons, the artwork of which came directly off the Makerbot Industries web site. The school’s button-press plus free child labor means buttons for everyone. Woo hoo! Don’t worry; I’ll buy them a pizza.

You’ll also notice the speech bubble (yes, it’s bheld up by a slide rule). I purchased a few small dry erase boards made of a foamy material. I cut them up with a razor and made the perfect way for people to express their thoughts in a still image.

Lastly, Darth is there answering my family’s question. What can you do with a Cupcake CNC? As you wish.

What I learned
-Jewlery can be printed
-The foam dry erase board makes a nice build platform.
-Use a spoon or knife to catch the initial ooze of plastic. Then grab the remainder with tweezers.


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