Makerbot Manual

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this page is outdated, i'm in the process of updating it. -- Dan


The pubtoob machine has these tools installed globally. Anyone can run them. You will need access to /dev/ttyUSB0, so if you have trouble with this talk to a hacklab sysadmin.

Running a Job

There are thre phases to running a job.

  1. Creating GCode (from, for example, a .stl file)
  2. Prepping the bot
  3. Sending the GCode to the bot

Creating GCode

This has been tested with a .STL file. Skeinforge claims to support many filetypes that I have not personally tested.

[...outdated stuff removed...]

Skeinforge is now part of replicatorG

Prepping the bot

  1. Turn the black toggle switch underneath the four ethernet ports to off. This disengages the motors on the system and allows you to move everything freely.
  2. If it's not already there, place the blue heated build platform onto the area underneath the print head. It attaches with magnets and only goes on one way. Be careful to route the wires so they don't get jammed as the platform moves.
  3. Using either the crank that's been placed on top of the makerbot (made from the makerbot, using white plastic), or pulling the pulley belts yourself, lower the print head VERY close to the surface. You should be placing the head roughly close enough to the surface that only a "few pieces of paper" would fit between the head and the surface. If you are too far, your initial part of the print job will not stick and plastic will be pushed everywhere. Simply adjust it closer and try again. Make sure, however, that the head is not actually resting on the surface.
  4. Then push the print surface yourself, to place the head in the middle of the surface. There are white crosshairs in the middle of the surface. This is not as important unless your model will take up the entire surface, as models should be centered in the surface by skeinforge.
  5. Turn the black toggle switch back on. The lights on the makerbot should go on (there are several above the head, and some on the mainboard). If they do not, make sure it's plugged in.

Sending the GCode to the bot

  1. In ReplicatorG
  2. The first time you run ReplicatorG you will have to set it up: Go to the "Machine" menu, and pick "Cupcake CNC" under the "Driver" submenu. If the makerbot is on, the top of the window should go from red to green and say "Machine Cupcake CNC (Sanguino3G) ready".
  3. Click the first button, "Simulate" to get a rough estimate of how long the job will take. If everthing looks OK, and you've prepped the bot, click "Build" (second button).

At this point the GCode header skeinforge inserts will raise the print head, start warming it up, and once it's warmed up extrude some plastic as a test. You will notice as soon as you hit build ReplicatorG will pop up a message box asking if you'd like to continue. Wait until the test extrusion finishes (it finishes, and then dribbles for a few seconds), then remove the test with a pair of pliers, and click the "YES" button to start your job. The print head will go back down to the surface and start.

[...add stuff about HBP...]

At this point, if you're too far from the surface your "raft" (the first layer the bot prints to base your model) may not stick, or you might run into other problems. If so, turn the black switch off again, raise the head away from the surface/project, stop the job in ReplicatorG (you may want to quit, as sometimes it doesn't like that) and start again with preparing the bot, adjusting as appropriate.

Things to Watch For

  • Make sure the print head is not resting on the surface. Raise the head a little bit to make sure of this (sometimes it can look like it's not, but you're still able to turn the crank a few times and have it still be on the surface. This is bad.) when you place it the first time. i.e. raise it a few centimeters then slowly lower it back down to make sure it's not resting
  • At any point you think the job is "going wrong", just turn the switch off that you turned off at first, and raise the head away from the surface manually. Again the lights will go off. Start again at preparing the bot.