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I purchased my CupCake CNC Deluxe Kit from MakerBot Industries. This machine is from batch #8, and it’s serial #000305. Future batches may be slightly different, so don’t use this as an exact guide for making your own CupCake CNC. Here’s what MakerBot Industries says about this version of the kit:

This kit has everything you need to build a MakerBot CNC and get started in DIY digital fabrication. Not only have we included all of the parts you need to build a CupCake CNC, but we’ve also included all the tools that you’ll need to put it together and have the build go smoothly.

What exactly is included in the $950 deluxe kit?

  • The laser-cut parts to assemble a CupCake CNC machine.

  • 3 x NEMA 17 motors to drive your machine
  • The nuts, bolts, and various hardware to assemble it.
  • The belts and pulleys for it to move things around.
  • All the bearings to make your machine nice and smooth.
  • The highest quality precision ground shafts for the X and Y axes we could find.
  • Pre-assembled 3rd generation electronics to drive it better, faster, and stronger.
  • Magnetized, detachable build platform to make removing your finished prints easier.
  • Pinch-wheel Plastruder to make things in plastic.
  • 1lb of natural ABS to get you started printing in 3D.
  • USB2TTL cable to talk to it
  • cat5e cables to wire things up
  • Standard ATX power supply
  • Tools kit with all the hex keys, wrenches, and other bits you need to construct it.
  • Full 5lbs of ABS plastic so you can print your heart out (in addition to the 1lb of ABS)
  • Extra acrylic build surface, and a spare build platform
  • SD card to buffer your prints

You can also save some money by purchasing the Basic CupCake CNC Kit for $750. Check out the link for more information about what is, and isn’t, included in the basic kit. Then again, you could always build your own from scratch since it’s totally open source.

Let the unboxing begin:

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The first thing I found was a nice letter from the MakerBot team and a couple of postcards. I’m going to keep these filed away in a safe place. Maybe one day I’ll be on the Antiques Roadshow and the host will let out a delighted *gasp* when I whip out my original, signed MakerBot Industries letter. Hey, you never know?!

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Also, I found the pick-list with a mysterious QRCode sticker. More rack 9, shelf E please!

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I figured the QR Code was a link to makerbot.com, but who knows? Sure enough, after downloading a free version of QuickMark, I snapped a picture, and it was a link to the MakerBot website. Neat! OK, let’s get to the good stuff.

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First up is a box filled with laser-cut wood. It looks to be the structural components of the CupCake CNC. There are a lot of parts, and for now I am going to leave them in the bag and check out the rest of the kit.

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Next is the power supply. Nothing special here, it’s a standard 400W switching power supply.

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Next up is the box labeled “Plastruder MK4″.

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This box is filler with lots of laser-cut acrylic, a geared motor, and two bags of miscellaneous parts.

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I noticed that all the acrylic parts are laser-etched with descriptions. Nice touch MakerBot! This is going to make building the Plastruder a lot easier.

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Next up, a fairly heavy priority mail box.

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Inside is a mix of electronics, pulleys, lead-screws, cables, tools, and the infamous hardware burrito.

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One of my favorite finds so far is the bag of 3D printed pulleys. It’s cool to finally see what the machine can do. They seem fairly accurate, and very strong. Neat!

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OK, enough drooling over a plastic pulley. In the next box I found three NEMA 17 stepper motors.

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The steppers are even branded by the MakerBot folks. Not that I mind. In fact, I’m noticing a lot of little details everywhere. It makes me think this is a really well thought-out kit.

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Last but not least are the two rolls of ABS plastic. My kit came with 1 lb of natural, which is a light cream color, and 5 lbs of black. And no, it didn’t come with an iPhone, I added it to the picture as a reference point. This is a lot of 3mm plastic filament!

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Wait! One more thing! What is this? I found it on the bottom of the box, and I’m not sure if I need it, but I will hang onto it until I finish making the entire kit. It looks like a plastic bushing and/or bearing.

Questions & suggestions:

From Part 1: Introduction & background

Is it possible to make a special feed for this series so I don’t miss it in the deluge of other make posts? Thanks!

I’m looking into it! For now, you can follow me on Twitter @devinck. I’ll always tweet the next build post. Also, you can check out the 3D printing category of Make: Online.

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 hack? Let me know in the comments. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can. Thanks!

Build history:

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    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.

    Oh wow, it’s the CupCake CNC kit from MakerBot Industries! I’d ordered it weeks earlier and had completely forgotten about it. (The truth is out: I have an atrocious memory, sad but true.)

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    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

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    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.

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    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!

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    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.

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    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?

    Disclosure:

    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!

    Build history:

    Marc de Vinck

    I’m currently working full time as the Dexter F. Baker Professor of Practice in Creativity in the Masters of Engineering in Technical Entrepreneurship Program at Lehigh University. I’m also an avid product designer, kit maker, author, father, tinkerer, and member of the MAKE Technical Advisory board.


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