MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Assembly Photographs

Hello, Slashdot. 🙂 After 12 hours of punishment, everything seems to be back up and responsive. Enjoy the pictures!

[Skip to the HD slideshow on Flickr.]

After an estimated 16 man-hour assembly effort, my brand new MakerBot Thing-o-Matic is fully assembled. The extruder motor is bad so I can’t print quite yet, but assembly is complete and the MakerBot support folks have been cool about shipping the replacement part. The new motor should arrive early next week.

The Thing-o-Matic is an Open Source 3D printer very similar to MakerBot’s earlier models (such as the Cupcake) as well as the RepRap, though MakerBot’s designs clearly depart from their RepRap origins. This is an extremely abbreviated set of high-level assembly pictures for those curious about the process. Assuming you already have a healthy assortment of common hand tools, the Thing-o-Matic “kit” version will set you back about $1,300 (USD).

The assembly process is intense, to put it lightly. Instructions are generally correct and straightforward 90% of the time, but given the intimidating complexity of the project, insane number of parts and dexterity required for some of the assemblies, simply locating the correct widget can sometimes be challenging. As the online assembly guide progresses, the instructions increasingly rely on your prior knowledge of repetitious concepts. We’re talking sanding, soldering, cutting, punching, scrubbing, gluing, and screwing hundreds of bolt/nut combinations. Only attempt this project if you’re the type of person that wakes up with ideas on the order of, “I think I’ll build an air conditioner this weekend.”, and actually completes the task. Like I said: intense.

[See the high-res slideshow version on Flickr instead.]

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17 thoughts on “MakerBot Thing-o-Matic 3D Printer Assembly Photographs”

  1. I’m not at all mechanically inclined, but I managed to build MakerBot’s earlier Cupcake model without any difficulty. Your description of the Thing-o-Matic build as “intense” has me a bit worried, as I’m just about to start building one.

  2. Hi, everyone.

    I just doubled the server capacity and it seems to have stabilized. Comments should now be open again. 🙂

  3. $1300 and 16 hours of assembly, including sanding, soldering, and screwing. That’s a new take on the three S’s (if you were ever in the service). That’s some investment. Admirable. Wish I had that kind of bread or that kind of time.

    Wonder if I could possibly design that plastic slide thingy that broke in my garage door opener years ago that I can’t find a replacement for? What’s the strength of the produced parts? Think they could lift 200 pounds (tensile strength) of garage door?

  4. Did my comment post, or did I screw it up?

    Anyway, I was complementing you on the expense and the effort. I wondered how strong the parts where that the thing produced, and if they had the tensile strength to lift a 200 pound garage door and replace the plastic part that broke a few years ago.

  5. Hi

    Could you please send me high-res pictures of thing-o-matic prints ???

    thank you for your time

  6. @HArchH,

    Possibly, depending on the design. Think of how a solid chunk of Lego brick might hold up if there were no seams or hollow portions.

  7. I know it says open source. Will it print .stl files? Also, it appears your print jobs solidfy into a hard plastic. Will it print other materials? Thanks –

  8. Jeff,

    Use can use .STL files as part of your workflow, yes. I use a plugin for Google Sketchup.

    Printing other materials is theoretically flexible, but practically limited to the extruder types you can purchase or make. You’ll probably want to stick to ABS and similar plastics.

    Hope this helps!

    Preston

  9. Hello,

    I recently acquired a friend’s old Makerbot thingomatic. However, some wires are pulled out.

    I am unable to access your old assembly pictures on Flickr.

    Can you make them available again.

    Thanks,

    Alok.

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