Monday, April 22, 2013

Thing-O-Matic Mania!

In a massively generous act, a friend's employer gave me a mostly assembled Thing-O-Matic 3D printer back in December!

Purchased as a kit, he had got it about 90% of the way there. Everything was assembled, but I had to clean up some of the electronics, adjust the belts, and troubleshoot what ended up being a bad motherboard. MakerBot was very helpful in testing the hardware for me and identifying the bad motherboard and arranging for me to replace it.

I started by printing a variety of test objects to get the belts properly tensioned.

I finally got it dialed-in enough to print a filament spool holder so I did not have a big loose spool of filament feeding the printer.

The filament spool holder and guide works wonderfully.

The tapered pocket coin-op model is fun to print and hand out to people to show them the power of 3D printing.

Once I had the Thing-o-Matic printing well under firmware 3.5 I upgraded to the Sailfish firmware. I tested accelerated printing using a great second century Indian lion model.

The silicon peg on my son's Tommee Tippee bib tore. I printed a replacement that I designed using AutoDesk's 123D Design online application. The model was a featured design.

The holder for the louvered blinds on my back door broke. One lost a peg, the other was completely broken. I used the calipers to take measurements. Then I used SketchUp to build a model and iterate on it until I had a good replacement.

Now the blinds can be secured to the door.

Finally, I let third and fifth graders know about the Minecraft server, where they can build and have a stl model generated. I told them I would print their designs. There were a few students who took me up on the offer.

It has been a very interesting learning process getting the printer up and running. It is exciting to be part of this new technology and makers revolution.