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.
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