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My first print! OK, this really isn’t my first print, it’s actually my second print. Not bad, huh? My first print was a “raft” that didn’t stick. I did a little research online and found that my temperature was probably too cold. I increased the temperature by about 15 Degrees C and it worked perfectly better.

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I didn’t make it all the way through the second print since the plastic still seemed “cold” and brittle. Eventually it snapped, and I had to stop. For a second print, I’d call it a big success.

You might be wondering if it’s really that easy to print. The simple answer is, it can be, but only if you do your research. I joined various MakerBot user groups and forums before I even ordered my machine. I was able to datamine all of this shared knowledge, and that is what made me have almost immediate success with my printer.

Printing an object from your CupCake CNC is a fairly straightforward process. Be sure to read this page about printing. It’s a really great walk-through of how to print ready-made objects, as well as creating your own objects from scratch.

The process of printing is as follows:

  1. Get an STL file

  2. Run STL file through Skeinforge or SkeinFox to generate GCode file
  3. Open ReplicatorG and connect to CupCake CNC
  4. Position nozzle for printing
  5. Open GCode file with ReplicatorG
  6. Say/Yell/Scream ‘Fire the MakerBot’ in a funny accent.
  7. Click the ‘Build’ button.
  8. Watch as the magic happens.
  9. Troubleshooting
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Feeling confident, I proceeded to download the infamous whistle by Zaggo STL file. I fired up the printer, and in a few minutes, I had a whistle! Amazing!

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OK, so the little “hoop” on the whistle didn’t come out just right, but come on, this was my third print! There are also a few “gaps” in the layers, but I’m still really happy with the results.

I hope everyone enjoyed my CupCake CNC build. It was a lot of fun to put together, and even more fun to use. Now my only problem is figuring out what to print next!

Follow me on Twitter @devinck to keep up ta date on my other builds too!

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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