MakerBot Thoughts 3

Continuing from my previous two posts (first, second), here are some things I’ve been thinking about.

Build Surface
. Use single faced corrugated paper or plastic. This could work as the conveyor belt material. It has a tred already built in. It could be a conveyor belt or a consumable item that comes off a roll. The roll would work if the build platform only moved in the Z axis.
. Since Kapton seems to make a nice build surface, maybe it can be used as conveyor belt material.

Electronics
. The FTDI chip contains an area for USB vendor ID (VID) and product ID (PID). For a one time fee of $2000 MakerBot can get a VID and burn it to all the MakerBot motherboards it ships. This might be cool for some reason. FTDI makes a nice application to do this that’s super easy to use, but requires Windows. There is even some EEPROM code under a BSD license.
. Each FTDI chip contains a unique serial number that is accessible over USB. This can be used to identify individual machines from within ReplicatorG.

Makerbot Filament Box and Drive Mechanism

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working on a project for MakerBot Industries; a Bowden-style filament drive mechanism and filament box.

The design files are in the MakerBot subversion repository. I’ll put them on my Thingiverse page when it’s complete.

Here’s the box all put together.

Removing the small cover reveals the drive mechanism and controller board. The drive mechanism is a derivative of the Paxtruder.

Looking inside we can see one of the two brackets holding the shaft in place. I made the filament reel from cardboard. The MakerBot filament will probably ship with a different reel.

Lastly, we can see some feet from 3M. I have to use these because the bottom piece has female t-slots and the bolt heads stick out. This configuration gives an extra 5 mm from top to bottom.

Cardboard Spool

This evening I spent some time searching for a reusable plastic spool for the MakerBot 3D printer. To fit the rolls it needs a flange diameter of 11.5 inches, barrel diameter of 5 inches, and an interior width of 4 inches. Well, it looks like such a thing doesn’t exist on the Internet, so it pretty much doesn’t exist as a product for sale.

Instead of getting on with life I grabbed a pizza box, fired up QCAD and make my own Cardboard Spool with the exact dimensions I need.

Unlike many other spool designs, this can be made without a fancy laser cutter. I don’t have a mount for it yet. Perhaps tomorrow will bring more inspiration.