MRRF 17: A Working MakerBot Cupcake

The Midwest RepRap Festival is the best place to go if you want to see the latest in desktop 3D printing. This weekend, we saw full-color 3D printers, a printer with an infinite build volume, new extruders, a fantastic development in the pursuit of Open Source filament, and a whole bunch of D-bots. If you want the bleeding edge in 3D printing, you’re going to Goshen, Indiana.

Of course, it wasn’t always like this. In 2009, MakerBot released the Cupcake, a tiny printer that ushered in the era of democratized 3D printing. The Cupcake was a primitive machine, but it existed, it was open source, and it was cheap – under $500 if you bought it at the right time. This was the printer that brought customized plastic parts to the masses, and even today no hackerspace is complete without an unused Cupcake or Thing-O-Matic sitting in the corner.

The MakerBot Cupcake has not aged well. This should be expected for a technology that is advancing as quickly as 3D printing, but today it’s rare to see a working first generation MakerBot. Not only was the Cupcake limited by the technology available to hackers in 2009, there are some pretty poor design choices in these printers. There’s a reason that old plywood MakerBot in your hackerspace isn’t used anymore – it’s probably broken.

This year at MRRF, [Ryan Branch] of River City Labs brought out his space’s MakerBot Cupcake, serial number 1515 of 2,625 total Cupcakes ever made. He got his Cupcake to print a test cube. If you’re at all familiar with the Cupcake, yes, this is a hack. It’s a miracle these things ever worked in the first place.

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PCB Milling with a Makerbot

[Keith] wanted to use his makerbot for some PCB milling, but he ran into a pretty big problem. The platform that his PCB would sit on was mounted with a layer of double sided foam tape and was not perfectly aligned to the head. Not only that, but it would tilt when pressure was applied. This made the result of the milling completely unacceptable. To remedy this, he made a new platform that is not only rigid, but he has made it so that there is the ability to adjust it for perfect alignment via adjustment screws in the 4 corners. At the beginning of each session, he can be absolutely sure that everything is aligned perfectly and his PCBs show a huge improvement. You can see a comparison of the two in the following picture.

[via HackedGadgets]

CandyFab relaunched

3569296311_812cc1e1de (Custom)

Forget about machines that can replicate themselves, what we want is a machine capable of making an 8 inch wide hollow torus out of sugar. The CandyFab project has been around for a while, but with the release of the new machine, the CandyFab 6000 they are reinventing the project. Built from the ground up to be a candy constructing beast, the CandyFab 6000 might be a little smaller than the previous version, but it’s much better designed. You can get more details on the new wiki site.

A new contender in home fabbing


Purple Crayon is a new entry into the home fabricating arena.  Shown above, with it’s makers [Konrad] and [Aaron], it’s set to compete with RepRap and Cupcake. It looks to be bigger than Cupcake, but smaller than the reprap. There aren’t many details available on their site, but we’re sure there will be soon. They do state that it should retail for less than $1,000.

Android adds A2DP, AVRCP Bluetooth and more


While working towards open-sourcing Android, the team continued to work on new features in their own private development branch. These have now been published publicly in the “cupcake” branch. There’s a lot of interesting new features and bug fixes included. We’ve got a rundown of many of the significant additions after the break.

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