CupCake CNC Kit


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]

29 thoughts on “CupCake CNC Kit

  1. 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…

  2. 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… :(

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

  3. 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?

  4. @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…?

  5. 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.

  6. 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,

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. who says there isn’t a complete reprap kit including all mechanical and electronic parts?!

    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?!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

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