Gorgeous MakerBot exploded view in the New York Times

This is a bit off-topic, but my MakerBots are some of my favorite open source hardware and 3D printers are a cool prototyping tool that we use a lot at 3D Robotics. The New York Times ran a great diagram of how they work today (click for larger size):


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Comment by Shannon Morrisey on September 15, 2011 at 4:10pm

Nice article. What are y'all prototyping on the makerbot?  

Interesting they didn't feature the automated build platform(ABP) in the image. They were touting ABP as the flagship feature for the new thingomatic model last year, but I think they're backing away from it now b/c it's so hard to get the ABP heated surface to work effectively.  I'm also really surprised they're selling them pre-built now.  half the fun was putting this thing together.

Comment by george on September 15, 2011 at 4:41pm


As a makerbot owner I agree with you that the automated build platform is the black sheep of the makerbot family. Great concept, just not quite there as far as reliability but I expect makerbot to come out with an improvement.

Comment by Shannon Morrisey on September 15, 2011 at 5:04pm

I think the key to a having a reliable system for ejecting completed prints lies in a layer that wedges or peels itself away from the heat surface - possibly leaving a membrane attached to the print for later removal.

I've made some cool mods to mine, but never had a reason to use ABP - its impractical for most operators - and I've never been comfortable leaving the ToM alone by itself when it's printing.  Last time i did, it ground the extruder head into the HBP (operator error - negative z axis input) - ruined the platform, but the extruder head didn't get a scratch - those things are crazy mil-spec tough.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 15, 2011 at 10:45pm

Yeah, the ABP was a mistake. The MB doesn't have the reliability to make it a production machine yet, and the ABP did lead to curling as you note. 


We're prototyping some products we haven't announced yet, but mostly cool video/autopilot enclosure and camera pods.


I just got a new MK7 extruder head, too (announced yesterday), while will let me use 1.7mm filament for finer prints.


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