photoSo when you use a silicone platform for the heated build stage, the heat doesn’t go all the way to the edges and corners of the stage (the material’s low conductivity which protects you from the 3 A electricity flowing is also the property that inhibits heat conduction laterally). This has a disadvantage in that effective build surface area is decreased, but a minor perk is that you can handle the stage with your hands by holding at the corners.

So tonight we realized that the 4″ putty knife we had been using to scrape off objects from the makerbot build platform was actually perfect for addressing BOTH of these problems. We put the putty knife between the heat and the build surface… The metal surface conducts the heat evenly to about 80% of the build surface now. So how do you pick up this hot stage? A huge bonus is that even though the stage is now too hot to hold at the edges, we have a sturdy handle that doesn’t interfere with printing!

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our custom made heated build stage for our MakerBot CupCake CNC is working extremely well. here you can see 4 pulleys being printed at the same time. there’s no raft (saves time, plastic, and headache), and ZERO warping. excellent! the etched acrylic may stick a bit too well. we’ll have to try regular, unetched acrylic next (which will be less expensive anyway).

say hello to mass manufacturing.

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NopHead is a lead designer of the RepRap 3D printer, and designed the Skyhook that we’re using all the time while printing at Hive. He’s worked out some good temperatures for extruding different materials in this RepRap guide for Newbies, which i’m reprinting here for posterity:

HDPE.raft_temp = 200
HDPE.first_layer_temp = 240
HDPE.layer_temp = 220

PCL.raft_temp = 0 // no raft
PCL.first_layer_temp = 130
PCL.layer_temp = 120

ABS.raft_temp = 200
ABS.first_layer_temp = 215
ABS.layer_temp = 230

PLA.raft_temp = 0
PLA.first_layer_temp = 180
PLA.layer_temp = 160

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check out our work on making a heated build platform for MakerBot. The primary goal was to make it as light as possible since the stage is actively moving, so that means just some nichrome, a thermistor, and some silicone as a carrier. The silicone is also an insulator (very important!!) so no kapton tape is needed and we can see clearly what’s going on inside because the silicone is also clear. we currently use a reprap motherboard and extruder to drive the heat, looking at simpler electronic design soon (but this setup has the excellent PID in the extruder firmware 1.6!).

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Download SkeinFox v1.0 (OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard, git 1.6.5+) and checkout this instructional to see what this is all about. Basically this new software project (launched right here at Hive76!) will make MakerBotting a bit easier for everyone. Watch the video in HD mode for best quality. Join the SkeinFox Google Group to learn more or provide feedback.


It’s a bird! It’s a plane!

no… actually it’s our first printable upgrade to our MakerBot 3D-PO. This printable z-crank was designed by a hacker in Germany, uploaded to Thingiverse, and then printed and in use by us. No more yanking the z-belt for moving the z-stage or trying to precisely position the z-axis.


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Black ABS for 3D-PO is here

Our black ABS came in; thanks to Village Plastics! Raft-free printing by using double-sided tape on the build surface. Saves time and $$. Also check out these spectacular parametric-modeled screw-boxes from thingiverse (video of 3D-PO printing one below).


3dPO Lives!

3dPO, our newest robot is alive and well! Yep, these are all playing back at real-time speed. w00t!


photoThe MakerBot workshop is happening right here at Hive76, starring MakerBot co-founder Zack Hoeken.  The class is Saturday September 19th, from 1PM to 5PM. You just need to show up on time, and with a laptop, and we do the rest. We’ll teach you everything you need to do a first design, and a first printing using the MakerBot. Tickets  for the 4 hours class are $25 (or $5 for students).

**BONUS: If you were a MakerBot Donor you will get a discount code for this class emailed to you. Thanks again!**

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Philly just got a HUGE rapid-prototyping upgrade. HOORAY!!

We have ordered our MakerBot CupCake CNC and it will be here soon! Watch for the upcoming workshop on how to use it, September 19th. YAY!!!
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