Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!
IMG_0135.JPG

Wow, the holidays (and their aftermath) can really put the brakes on project building! But they’re over, and it’s time to get back to building my CupCake CNC. Next up, building the X stage. It’s another really easy part to the build, and it should only take about an hour or two to complete. My assembly is undergoing a little final QC in the picture above. Fortunately, it passed with flying colors.

IMG_9828.JPG

The first step is to attach the belt to the X rib using the (2) X clamps. The 264-tooth belt that’s supplied with the kit is a little too long. How long? A little! Just make a slight ‘kink’, about 1/4″ in-between the (2) x clamps to take up the slack. Tighten everything up and you’re done.

IMG_9830.JPG

The next step is simple. Place the flanged bearings into the x-left and x-right pieces. Do not glue them in yet! Why? Well, keep reading, I’ve got a really handy tip coming up!

IMG_9832.JPG

Now you can add the (3) M3 bolts to the lower (3) T-slots on the X left and x right.

IMG_9833.JPG

Screw on the X stage and you’re done! Remember, don’t over-tighten the bolts, the wood can crack.

IMG_9835.JPG

Now it’s time to mount the pulley. Just add (2) nuts directly under the pulley…

IMG_9836.JPG

…followed by an additional nut under the X stage. At this point, only hand-tighten the nut, you may need to make some adjustments later.

IMG_9839.JPG

Next, mount the servo to the right side of the X stage with the (4) 8mm M3 screws. You can attach the aluminum drive pulley to the stepper shaft before screwing it to the X stage, but don’t tighten the setscrews until you add the belt from the Y stage so it can be adjusted to the proper height.

Note: Adding the drive pulley is the same procedure as in part 6 of this build.

IMG_9840.JPG

Now, add the Y assembly and its belt to the X stage. Next, adjust the height of the steppers’ drive pulley so it’s lined up with the pulley on the opposite side of the X stage. Once it’s at the proper height, tighten the set-screws. It’s a lot easier than it sounds!

IMG_9849.JPG

Now let’s add the M8 rods for the Y stage to the X stage. Start by adding the X cap to one end of the X stage.

IMG_9851.JPG

Next, slide the M8 rods through the ‘other’ holes in the X stage, through the Y stage, and into the holes where you first attached the X cap. Next, add the 2nd X cap. It’s OK if the M8 rods are too long, just snug down the bolts, leaving a gap. It’s OK, I swear!

IMG_9857.jpg

Now we need to add hot glue, or epoxy, to all the bearings to hold them in place.First, add the M8 rods to the Y stage. This will align all the bearings and rods.

IMG_9853.JPG

Now you can add a nice dab of hot glue to all the bearing of the X stage and the Y stage. Perfect alignment. Done!

IMG_9863.JPG

The last step is to add the X rib and belt to the X stage. Simply add the M3 nuts to the rib assembly and screw it into the middle section of the X stage. Done!

Next up, adding the X & Y stage to the CupCake CNC.

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!

Want to know when my next build entry is done? Follow me on Twitter @devinck!

Build history:

    IMG_0297.JPG

    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.)

    IMG_9117.JPG

    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

    IMG_9098.jpg

    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.

    4077680467_119b920a82_b.jpg

    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!

    4077673575_d8fc55c17d_b.jpg

    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.

    IMG_9110.JPG

    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.


    Related

Comments

  1. NitPicker says:

    I’m really enjoying your build series, but:
    “Just add (2) bolts directly under the pulley…followed by an additional bolt under the X stage.”
    Those are nuts, not bolts. That could be really confusing for some neophytes.

  2. Marc de Vinck says:

    You are 100% correct, thanks for pointing that out. I changed it!

    You should change your name form NitPicker to Technical Editor! :) Thanks again!

  3. Cupcake says:

    …almost looks like a fancy looking scratching post.

    Do we receive a free cat with the kit?

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      There are days that I would be tempted to FedEx him to you! :)

  4. Volkemon says:

    These DIY 3D replicators are AWESOME!! The detail in the fur, the glossy eyes…

    What? a CNC?

    Oh…. ;)

  5. Andy L says:

    Building a makerbot must be tough without opposable thumbs.

    Seriously, what I’ve recently discovered is aggravating is that I can’t figure out how to adjust the tension on that pulley once the stage is assembled.

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      I haven’t had to adjust mine yet (only printed a few things), but I can see your point. There isn’t a simple way to adjust it……I’m going to hope that it isn’t something that needs to be done too often.

  6. Whimsy says:

    Love your awesomely nosy cat ! (wouldn’t happen to be called ‘Cupcake’, would she?)

    There’s a company in the Netherlands that recycles household plastic waste (it’s mostly polypropylene and polyethylene that gets collected separately from other waste the past few moths over here) directly into a thermoplast. They gave the process the incredibly cheesy name of ‘Blendymer’, but the invention is solid: it is now possible for the first time to blend plastics that otherwise wouldn’t before, rendering the stream of household plastic waste useless if not separated first (which is too expensive to be done on a large scale).
    It would be very satisfying to use this relatively environmentally conscious product in combination with the Cupcake, in stead of newly made plastics.

    http://www.plastinum.com

    Does your machine rely on plastic with very specific characteristics, or would it probably cope with this Blendymer-stuff? (I have not been able to find useful specs on the Blendymer plastic itself, so I might have to bother Plastinum itself until they divulge some secrets).

    1. Marc de Vinck says:

      That is really interesting. I’ll have to look into it more. I have experimented with recycling plastic in the past (not for the MakerBot)….didn’t have much success.

      Thanks for the info!

  7. casey says:

    Any idea when the next few stages will be complete and posted?

    Thanks,
    Casey

  8. Guestr says:

    I’m really enjoying this series.

    I hope there will be more soon (??)

    Thanks,
    – Rick.