CupCake CNC kit

cupcake

The CupCake CNC Kit is the flagship product of MakerBot industries, a joint venture between [Bre Pettis] and [Zach Hoeken]. At $750, it comes with all the motors, belts, body pieces, bearings, belts, and other pieces to assemble it. You could be printing your own 3d objects in a matter of hours with this. 3D printers with only slightly larger capacities can run thousands of dollars. The only advantage to some of the commercial products might be resolution. They don’t give much as far as technical data as the unit isn’t available yet. They should start Shipping before April 15th, so they can’t be far off. This could possibly be a competitor for the RepRap. Since RepRap doesn’t offer a complete kit, we’ll have to speculate. We’ve seen estimates from $500 to $1000 to build one.

[via adafruit industries blog]

Comments

  1. Dawning says:

    Bre & Zach, you guys rule! Ohh man!!

  2. Av says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but why is it so small? It looks like it’d be good for milling tiny gears or small figures and not much else. Most CNC machines are at least 2 feet by 2 feet…

  3. fyrebug says:

    GAHHH!H!!!!!! great! I’m tempted to buy one now, but I need to wait for the next pay cheque. I hope the presale price of $750 doesn’t go up after the 15th… :(

    @AV
    I’m pretty sure the name says it all. cupcake cnc. it makes things the size of a cupcake… or so I assume.

  4. borgie says:

    Someone help me through my confusion, please.

    In my pea-sized brain, CNC means milling stock into parts or whathaveyou. This is different than 3D printing which constructs objects through the deposition of material (say, thermoplastic or sugar) one layer at a time. Is CNC used generically for any “computer numerical controlled” fabbing tool?

  5. andrew says:

    @borgie: i agree, there seems to be some problems with the verbiage. i also don’t understand the attraction to such a small machine. i guess there’s a large demand out there among hobbyists for making small parts…?

  6. luisXII says:

    A lot of money for an open source hardware….

  7. DanS says:

    Does it come with belts?

  8. medix says:

    Why hasn’t someone figured out how to modify ink cartridges to print a ‘binder’ instead of ink? That would make this *much* more useful than just extruding hot glue..

  9. @medix That’s how many commercial machines worked at one point. I remember seeing a Z-corp machine that still had the envelope/paper head gap switch on the printhead carrier.

  10. JSWEEZY says:

    This thing uses the reprap electronics…so it is kind of a completed reprap

  11. Charles Gantt says:

    Zach is a Major contributor to the reprap project. He is the reason the project made the move from the old electronics to the Arduino and sanguino boards and also came up with the reprap motherboard of recent. So I don’t see this as being competition to the reprap project as there are companies who are selling a reprap kit. I forget the site and just searched the reprap forums and came up with nothing. That with the fact that Zach is such a Major contributor to the reprap project.

  12. lee says:

    the reprap machine only costs a case of beer! you just have to find someone who’ll make you parts

  13. zach hoeken says:

    hey guys, zach hoeken here.

    just a few quick answers:

    1. its small because most people make small parts with 3d printing. also we wanted to make something you could put on your desk. a 2 foot by 2 foot machine doesn’t fit on my desk, thats for sure ;)

    2. the presale price won’t go up. the only place our prices are going is down. our goal is under $500 by christmas, but only time will tell on that. ideally, we’d like to get this under $300 in a year or two. that would really kick off the digital fabrication revolution =)

    3. cnc = computer numerically controlled, although it commonly refers to computerized milling machines. this is an additive, 3d printer style machine, but its still computer controlled, numerically. ;)

    4. yes, it comes with belts. also, everything you need to build it, minus common tools. even comes with 5lbs of ABS plastic!

    5. yup, i’m a major RepRap contributor. been involved for years. unfortunately, the parts costing a pack of beer is a bit misleading… there’s a WHOLE LOT more parts that drive that price up a bit. hopefully someday it will cost a pack of beer, but not quite yet.

    happy hacking,
    hoeken

  14. zach hoeken says:

    oh, one more thing… its not a reprap competitor, but rather what we call a ‘RepStrap’ machine in the community. its a bootstrap machine you could print the parts on for a RepRap, as well as anything else you wanted to print. for us, this is a much cheaper and easier way to build a 3d printer. as the reprap technology matures to the point where its cheaper and easier to build, you can be sure that we’ll switch over to producing those types of machines.

  15. localroger says:

    zach, is there a site somewhere with more details? This does look awfully interesting and at a reasonable price point, but I can’t really tell the scale, what the xyz working volume is, just how big the machine is, and so on from the one pic.

  16. JSWEEZY says:

    http://www.vimeo.com/3692508

    Check out the video DUDES!!!

  17. supershwa says:

    ha, I wasn’t very satisfied until I saw the video posted by jsweezy…this thing is pretty slick for the cost – I can think of the many, many times this would have come in extremely handy.

    props to krafty “cell phone shoe” caleb for a damn fine choice in topic for a change! ;p

  18. localroger says:

    The video was nice, but before dropping $750 it would still be kind of nice to have some specs — XYZ volume, spin rate, etc. Little stuff like that.

  19. MRE says:

    who says there isn’t a complete reprap kit including all mechanical and electronic parts?!
    http://www.bitsfrombytes.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&product_id=168&category_id=5&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

    about double (in USD) as the cupcake.. but a full size kit… granted, the small formfactor of the cupcake and lower price could be nice for many users.

    research: it takes 5 minutes. and a mouse click. c’mon dont let the interwebz make you lazy. remember card catalogs?!

  20. DarkAnt says:
  21. DanS says:

    Re zach hoeken:
    4. yes, it comes with belts.

    You didn’t get the joke.

  22. free4all says:

    have one homemaid but “ink” was replaced w/epoxy
    now that’s plastic

  23. gyro_john says:

    I infer from the specs referred to above that this uses steppers, not servos. Resolution appears to be steps of .0033″.

  24. Drew says:

    Zach, I was skeptical until I saw the machine. It’s impressive for the size.

    But what I want to know- is it ONLY ABS extrusion? Can it do wax? If this could do wax, things would get serious quick. There’s a whole world of people like me who would love one of these that can do wax- small scale jewelry, through lost wax casting.

    Please, tell me you geniuses thought of that!

  25. buzz says:

    to drew:
    Yes, you can do lost-wax casting in a reprap, it’s just not wax…. but it’s close. :-)

    Option 1 – ABS is 100% hydrocarbons ( C8H8· C4H6·C3H3N)n , and thus flammable when it is exposed to high temperatures, exactly like wax, but it melts at a higher temperature(220degC), and decomposes at an even higher temperature. A commercial casting house will use a lost-wax investment casting de-waxer that operates between 1800F – 3000F.. This is more than enough to properly degrade ABS ( ie burn it from the inside of the mould) , so you can just send the cast object to a comercial caster, and they will be able to cast it just like it was wax.

    Option 2 – Room temperature at home – ABS plastic is soluble at room temperature with esters, ketones, acteone and ethylene dichloride, so you can take a plaster cast of the ABS object with water-based plaster, and soak the resulting plaster in the solvent of your choice to remove the ABS. ( I have not tried this) Dry the plaster mould thoroughly at below the vapor-point of your chosen solvent before casting , as the solvents are flamable.

  26. conundrum says:

    reckon its worth recycling the optical positioner and motor from old epson/HP printers? this is supposed to be good to very small fractions of a millimetre (and can also be used as a fine tuning system for steppers)

    i did also look into modifying an optical mouse sensor to measure travel; this has the potential for extreme accuracy if used with a blue LED and sanded strip.. also can be used in two directions simultaneously.

  27. rosy says:

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