Makerbot Clone

This table-top extruder was modeled after the Makerbot. Instead of laser-cut wood this is built from acrylic, uses salvaged rods from laser printers, some inexpensive stepper motors, and a homemade extruder. All said and done, [Peter Jansen] figures this build came in somewhere around $200-300. It may not look as nice, but at half the price of the Makerbot base kit you also get the fun of building from scratch. Hopefully your fabrication skills are up to the challenge. If so, you’ll be printing useful items soon enough.

9 thoughts on “Makerbot Clone

  1. This isn’t really a makerbot clone, the similarities of the shapes (a box) has more to do with the fact that they wanted a passively heated build chamber. in this respect i’d consider it superior.

    also, their z-axis is an alternative design, only using a single lead screw, no belt or pulleys needed. don’t know how tight their resolution is though.

    great work.

  2. neat, but afaict the main appeal to the makerbot is that you get an easy kit containing everything you need. I do wonder if this could be made into a cheaper kit, rather than just a one-off creation.

  3. I’m working on something similar. I’m building a desktop CNC for printed circuit boards. I’m using a scraped printer and a giant double sided scanner i found at a Goodwill for $5. I salvaged the rods and carriages from them and built my own stepper motor controller. I just got the HDPE cut out and i just have to do some drilling and tapping to assemble. Hopefully i can have an instructable up in the next month.

  4. There have been dozens of attempts to make cheap, easy to manufacture reprap-type devices. In every case, you trade off money for an investment of time and skill.

    This one is nicely finished, but is otherwise unexceptional.

  5. I guess you could call it a Makerbot clones as he did use Makerbot electronics (and because he, specifically, mentions that the build was inspired by Makerbot) but, then again, the Makerbot electronics are, effectively, just clones of the Reprap electronics anyway. It looks good. I wonder if he could have cut the costs a little bit by using MDF for the casing rather than acrylic and buying his motors from somewhere like (disclaimer: I’ve never purchased from them) who have about the same spec NEMA-17 steppers as Makerbot Shop but at ~$10 rather than the $23 Makerbot Shop is asking.

  6. I am really incredulous that he managed to make it less than $300.
    He says he bought the (reprap gen 3) electronics completed from makerbot for $215, so he managed to fit three steppers, pulleys, metal parts, and loads of acrylic in the remaining budget. Not that it’s impossible, he would just have gotten some darn good prices.

    I have personally cloned a Makerbot CupCake CNC, and spent less than $300, but only by buying the raw electronic components for $90 and using my own laser cutter and free donated acrylic.
    (if you care, it’s documented at )

  7. Very interesting, but to me it always looks like- build and forget. What I miss are detailed examinations of the result. How good is it? How does it compare? What is the main limiting factor for resolution, etc. That would be the really interesting stuff. Don’t clone. Go a step further. Build the next generation!

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