Making Your Own LEGO Bricks

… or minifigs, or whatever your heart desires in ABS plastic.

Fantasy? No, you can actually do it if you get a Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer Kit from MakerBot. It all gets kinda techical but this article from Guardian explains it well in layman terms.  The ‘Printer’ bit is a bit deceiving… the machines are “3D printers build up objects using layers of plastic”.

Oh, and you also have to have at least US$649 (for the most basic Cupcake kit) to US$1225 (for the latest Thing-O-Matic) and wait for up to 7 weeks after placing your order.  Remember to order the ABS plastic too.  A 5 pound coil of red/blue/green/yellow//pink ABS plastic costs US$65, and a natural one at US$45.  Fluorescent red costs more at US$70 for 5 lb and glow in the dark is the most expensive at US$46 for 1 lb.

I was curious and pulled up a comparison of all 3 models… and don’t understand… uhhhh… very very engineering language.  If you are game you can read more below.

And… this really reminds me of some in-game “The Sims” kind of gadget.  Even the name sounds like one. Come to think of it, I’m sure there was some machine/reward like that in “The Sims 3“…

Someone has already made some large minifigs (20 minifigs size x 4) and shared his blue prints. Looks good don’t you think?  By Michael Curry, aka Skimbal, more pics in his Picasa page.  Blue prints for the minifigs here in his thingiverse page.  

You can also see a video of an actual to-scale 2×2 brick:

Loads more videos about ‘makerbot’ in youtube.

*************************************************************************

As the last post for 2010, happy new year to all readers!  Wishing all a healthy, peaceful and wonderful year ahead. :)

Comparison

  CupCake CNC Starter Kit

CupCake CNC Starter Kit

$649.00

CupCake CNC Ultimate Kit

CupCake CNC Ultimate Kit

$899.00

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Kit

MakerBot Thing-O-Matic Kit

$1,225.00

Description ***Availability: Ships within 1-3 business days.***The MakerBot CupCake Starter is our entry level machine with just the basics: Everything you need to get started in Personal Manufacturing!This is now available for $649 which is a SUPER low price. Buy now, because when they are gone, they are gone!The CupCake Starter kit includes all the components, hardware pieces, and laser cut parts to build a CupCake CNC on your desktop. It’s a lot of fun, and is a great product to get you started in 3D printer kit building.

The CupCake CNC Starter Kit includes:

* Lasercut CupCake CNC Body
* MK4 Plastruder Kit
* Pre-assembled Generation 3 Electronics Kit, (3 Stepper Drivers v2.3 , 1 RepRap Motherboard v1.2, and 1 Extruder Controller v2.2)
* 3 x NEMA 17 stepper motors for your XY&Z axis
* A magnetized, detachable build platform and acrylic build surface
* CupCake Belt and Pulleys Kit
* CupCake CNC Hardware Burrito
* CupCake CNC Drive System kit
* All the cables you need (1 USB-TTL, 1 Cat5e patch cable, and IDC rainbow cables)
* ATX power supply (115/230v switchable)
* tool kit with all the hex keys and wrenches to assemble the machine.
* 1lbs of natural MakerBot 3mm ABS plastic filament
* 1 GB SD card to save and buffer your prints

You will need to supply some basic tools, glue, and soldering kit. Assembly required.

Click here for full documentation and sources.

Click here for full documentation and sources.

Just to be upfront. This does not include the following:

MK5 Plastruder

Filament Spindle Box Kit

Automated Build Platform


***Availability: Ships within 1-3 business days.***Since the introduction of the CupCake CNC we have been on a continuous mission to make personal manufacturing better, faster, and stronger. The MakerBot R&D lab have taken the best of all our research and new products, and bundled them into a new package at an awesome new price of $899. It’s a deal and when the Cupcake CNCs are gone, they are gone.The CupCake Ultimate adds our two biggest upgrade items directly to the kit: The Plastruder MK5 and the Automated Build Platform. These two sweethearts were meant to be together: an extruder that doesn’t let up, and a heated conveyor belt to set the stage for multiple print jobs. We’ve also added our Relay Board and Mount Kit, to make power management a snap and easy to install on the side of your machine.The Ultimate kit includes all the components, hardware pieces, and laser cut parts to make the latest in Personal Manufacturing a reality on your desktop. Assembly and some soldering required.

The CupCake CNC Ultimate Kit includes:

* Lasercut CupCake CNC Body
* MK5 Plastruder Complete Kit with Relay Board
* Automated Build Platform Kit
* Pre-assembled Generation 3 Electronics Kit, (3 Stepper Drivers v2.3 , 1 RepRap Motherboard v1.2, and 1 Extruder Controller v2.2)
* 3 x NEMA 17 stepper motors for your XY&Z axis
* A magnetized, detachable build platform and acrylic build surface
* CupCake Belt and Pulleys Kit
* CupCake CNC Hardware Burrito
* CupCake CNC Drive System kit
* All the cables you need (1 USB-TTL, 1 Cat5e patch cable, and IDC rainbow cables)
* ATX power supply (115/230v switchable)
* tool kit with all the hex keys and wrenches to assemble the machine.
* 5lbs of black MakerBot 3mm ABS plastic filament
* 1 GB SD card to save and buffer your prints

You will still need to supply some basic tools, glue, and soldering kit.

Also, this kit does not include the filament spindle kit. If you’re going to go all out. Please make sure to add the Filament Spindle Box Kit to your order.

Click here for full documentation and sources.

***Availability: Ships with a 7 week lead time.***The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer is a breakthrough in 3D printing technology. We’ve named it the Thing-O-Matic because it is an automatic 3D printer. All other 3D printers can only do one thing at a time while the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer prints thing after thing! Buy it, put it together and enjoy being the first on your block to live in the cutting-edge personal manufacturing future of tomorrow!Fully AutomaticThe MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer comes with a new larger MakerBot Automated Build Platform v2.0 that will keep printing and printing… Automatically!

The MakerBot Automated Build Platform is truly a revolution in 3D printing. Updated to be larger for the Thing-O-Matic, it allows you to have a print queue where your machine will clear the build surface between builds by printing, then ejecting. It prints objects one after another. This turns your MakerBot into a little factory that sits on your desktop. Best of all, this is completely automated: you hit print, and the machine does all the work. Want to print 100 butterflies? Easy. Want to print an entire chess set? No problem. Want to start a business selling printed things that you’ve designed? Awesome. Have the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer do all the work while you design new things.

Extremely Reliable

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer comes with the MakerBot MK5 plastruder which will give you thousands of hours of trouble-free printing.

We’ve invested many hours into designing, testing, and tweaking the MK5 plastruder. The result is an extruder that is extremely reliable, and very simple to maintain. The hot end on this extruder is essentially unbreakable and the filament drive system is one of the strongest on the market. We’ve run this thing for more than a thousand hours with minimal maintenance. Changing the filament is a breeze with the filament pressure thumb screw. You can even hot-swap the filament mid print!

Higher Quality

The layer alignment is much better which results in nicer prints and higher resolution.

We’ve completely overhauled the drive system to give the optimum positioning accuracy. The entire system has been upgraded to sturdy 3/8″ diameter linear shafting. This is overkill, but you can trust that the axes will be sturdy and straight. We’ve also switched to self-aligning, sintered brass bearings. These are very forgiving to DIY assembly and provide a nice, smooth motion on the steel shafts. Last, but not least we’ve completely replaced the Z axis with a stepper driven, cantilevered stage. Guided by two of the linear shafts, this completely eliminates any Z wobble and results in nicely aligned layers. Using a high-angle lead screw, we were able to increase the speed of the Z axis from 150mm/minute to 1000mm/minute. That’s more than 6 times the speed! This means the layer changes are almost completely imperceptible and blobbing is significantly reduced for smoother prints.

Easier to Use

Connect to the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer over USB and hit print – the machine will detect its position and start printing.

The new MakerBot Gen4 Electronics have been designed to make the printing experience even easier than ever. The motherboard now sports an integrated USB port, so you simply plug the MakerBot in with a standard USB cable. We’ve also added full endstop support so that you never need to touch the XYZ axes ever again. When you hit print, the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer will automatically home itself, heat up, and begin printing. All you have to do is sit back and relax while your MakerBot does all the work. Living in the future is awesome. Oh yeah, and the electronics are all inside, so you don’t have wires dangling everywhere. This also makes travelling on the subway with your MakerBot stress-free.

The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer kit is available for $1225 and has a 7 week lead time. Order a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer and get the latest in personal manufacturing technology!

You’ll get:
* Makerbot Plastruder MK5
* MakerBot Automated Build Platform v.2.0
* The lasercut parts to assemble a Thing-O-Matic CNC machine.
* 3 x NEMA 17 motors
* The hardware to assemble it.
* Belts and pulleys
* Smooth Rods and Drive system components
* Pre-assembled 4th Generation Electronics
* a USB cable to talk to it
* cat5e and rainbow cables to wire things up
* a standard ATX power supply
* a tools kit with all the hex keys, wrenches, and other bits you need to construct it.
* SD card to buffer your prints
* 1lb of MakerBot ABS Plastic to print with

Full instructions and documentation will be released on the day we start shipping this kit in mid-November.

Some tech specs on the Thing-O-Matic:

* Interface: Print through USB or print from SD card
* Size: 300 x 300 x 410 mm (12″ W x 12″ D x 16″ H)
* Build Area: 96 x 108 mm
* Build Height: 115 mm
* Generation 4 Electronics
* Supports up to 5 stepper drivers (XYZ + A/B)
* Connect over USB (no more FTDI cable)
* Optional LCD interface support (Not included)
* Full mechanical endstop support
* High current mosfets to drive heated build platform and extruder heater
* Thermocouple support for more accurate temperature sensing
* 500W Hercules ATX power supply
* Works with both 110v and 220v power
* Theoretical XY Positioning resolution of 0.02mm (20 microns or 0.0008″)
* Theoretical XY Maximum Feedrate of up to 5000mm/minute (roughly 200 IPM)
* Theoretical Z Positioning resolution of 0.005mm (5 microns / or 0.0002″)
* Theoretical Z Positioning Feedrate of up to 1000mm/minutes (roughly 40 IPM)
* Capable of printing with ABS and PLA

***Availability: Ships with a 7 week lead time***

Short Description The CupCake CNC Starter Kit. All the parts you’ll need to begin 3D Printing! The Ultimate CupCake CNC Personal Manufacturing kit with all the upgrades and components you need! The MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D Printer kit you assemble to create the latest in cutting edge personal manufacturing technology.
SKU MP1032 MP1033 MP885
Manufacturer MakerBot Industries MakerBot Industries MakerBot Industries
Color Natural Natural Natural
Price $649.00 $899.00 $1,225.00

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