Having just arrived home from a quick trip to the hardware store, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large, unmarked, cardboard box sitting on my front steps. This isn’t an uncommon event, since I am constantly checking out cool products and projects for the Maker Shed, however this box was a bit larger than normal.
And so the adventure begins! I’m going to document my “out of box experience” with a MakerBot. How many posts will the series be? I’m not sure since I’ve never built one. How often will I post about the build? Again, not sure, but I’ll try to do at least one a week, maybe more, it all depends on how much free time I have between all my other maker-ly projects.
A little background: My CNC experiences
I’ve been tinkering with CNC for about 10 years, and consider myself an enthusiast, not an expert. I do own a few CNC mills, routers, and lathes. I have retrofitted old mills, and even build one from scratch. Pictured above is my mobile CNC machine, dubbed the “MobileC.” I stuffed all the components into a mobile tool cart so I could bring it to hackerspaces, workshops, and events, all in the hopes of helping out fellow makers.
The mill is a Sherline 5400 that I retrofitted for CNC. Also, I added a few extra parts to make it even more useful. It has a longer reach, thanks to the headstock spacer block on the column, and a larger table that I simply mounted to the stock table. It’s a sweet machine. I love my little Sherline!
All the electronics are housed in the cart too! There is a 19″ LCD monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, desktop computer, and CNC controller. It’s a tight fit, but it works perfectly. There is even an extra full-size drawer for tooling and accessories.
I’m thinking of replacing the computer, keyboard, and mouse with an HP TouchSmart, but I have to save a few more pennies for that upgrade.
Does anyone want to know more about my MobileC? Let me know in the comments. After I build my CupCake CNC, maybe I should do a series of articles on CNC machining?
I purchased the CupCake CNC kit with my own hard-earned cash. I waited several weeks for it to arrive, just like everyone else that placed an order. No favors, no freebies! Why did I buy one? Well, for two reasons.
- Reason #1 – I like what MakerBot Industries is doing for the open source community and open manufacturing, so I wanted to support them!
- Reason #2 – I am going to document the build for Make: Online, and if I like it, I’ll let you know, and if I don’t… well, I’ll let you know that too! No biased reviews here.
Reason #3 – I am a CNC junkie, and I had to have it, even if my wife was questioning whether I really needed another machine in my studio! “Ha!” I said, “You can never have too many machines!”Oops, only two reasons, right?! :)
Questions & suggestions:
Ask questions! Do you want to see a better picture of a particular part, a different camera angle, a video perhaps? Maybe you have a suggestion for a cool mod or a hack? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to answer all of them as best as I can. Thanks!
- Part 1: Introduction & background
- Part 2: Unboxing
- Part 3: Electronics
- Part 4: Update & burning the bootloaders
- Part 5: Pulley & enclosure finishing
- Part 6: Building the enclosure
- Part 7: Building the Y-stage and adjusting the Z-stage
- Part 8: Building the X stage
- Part 9: Installing the X & Y stages
- Part 10: Building and installing the Z stage
- Part 11: Building the plastruder & testing
- Part 12: Installing the electronics & software
- Part 13: First print!