Adventures in 3d printing: Our first week with the LulzBot AO-100


Recently, we acquired a LulzBot AO-100. It was given to us, free of charge.  After having it for about a week, I’ve figured out enough that I feel I can finally share my thoughts, impressions, and experiences.  I will be completely honest about the machine. It was given to us, which is insanely awesome, but hey, I have to share the real information with the readers.

When we first started looking for a printer, we decided we didn’t want to build one from scratch. While that might seem initially to be the opposite of Hack a Day, there is a reason. I simply can’t build every tool I use from scratch.  I have projects in mind that could benefit from a 3d printer, and I want to work on those.  This meant that I was looking for a pre-assembled unit. Many people asked for an article on getting a reprap going, so we started to consider reprap based kits as well.

When LulzBot contacted us, I was initially skeptical. I mean, the name is lulzBot. Is this an internet troll? Is this somehow connected to Lulzsec, the hacking group? Did they seriously name their printer LulzBot? Well, as it turns out, they are legitimate. Not only that, we’ve seen them before, they are also AlephObjects, who sent in the video of the wall o’ printers working. Why did they name it LulzBot? The answer was basically, for the lulz. It is worth noting that [Jeff] has been a strong proponent for free software for a long time and that Lulzbot is built from the ground up to be completely open and shareable. You can go to the website right now and download the list of parts as well as all source code and configurations.

As you read further, please remember that the model they sent me was not their newest. They don’t even sell this model any more. Technically speaking, it is roughly 2 generations behind.

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Automated Doors for Theatre Effect

Door Actuator

For a theatre production, [Jason] needed a way to automatically open and close doors as a special effect. His solution, hosted on Github, lets him remotely control the doors, and put them into a ‘freak out’ mode for one scene in the play.

Two Victor 884 motor controllers are attached to an Arduino that controls the system. A custom controller lets [Jason] actuate the doors remotely, and LEDs are used to display the state of the system.

On the mechanical side, two wind shield wiper motors are used. These are connected to custom arms that were printed using a Lulzbot AO-100. The arms allow for the door to be automatically actuated, but also allow for actors to open the door manually.

The result is a neat special effect, and the 3D models that are included in the repository could be useful for other people looking to build automated doors. In the video after the break, [Jason] walks us through the system’s design and demonstrates it in action.

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