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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3D Desktop Ruby Applications On Linux

Over the past year I’ve put out a few working demos of how to develop full 3D, OpenGL-based OSX applications using Ruby. Most of the comments I’ve received have been positive, but I think the high learning overhead has been the prime limiting factor in addoption. I also decided to focus exclusively on Mac OS X, further limiting the potential audience.

I’m pleasing to learn that Martin “monkstone” Prout has successfully run the code contained within my–basically a folder of code on a OS X system that looks and behaves like an .exe does Windows–on a Kubuntu Linux system. I haven’t personally tried to replicate this myself due to a lack of time, but you can read how monkstone did it on his blog.

3D OSX Applications With Ruby-Processing Screencast

A two-part screencast series demonstating two different 3D ruby-processing applications. A slide presentation from 2009 created for the Phoenix Ruby Group is also attached as bonus material. Enjoy!

Part 1: Starfield

Demo of a 3D starfield simulation written in pure Ruby, running on the JRuby runtime as a nicely packaged .app program for Mac OS X. (Runs on Snow Leopard and Leopard.)

Part 2: Twiverse

3D Twitter client written in pure Ruby, running on the JRuby runtime as a nicely packaged .app program for Mac OS X. (Runs on Snow Leopard and Leopard.)

Slide Show