Makerbot now on sale at Home Depot stores

Home Depot stores in California, New York and Illinois are now stocking Makerbot 3D printers in their aisles, with staff on-hand to demo 3D printing for a wide audience.

What's the story with the Makerbot patent?

The 3D printing world is all a-seethe with the story that Makerbot supposedly filed a patent on a design from its Thingiverse community. As Cory Doctorow discovered, the reality is a little more complicated: if Makerbot has committed a sin, it is not the sin of which it stands accused.

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Cheaper PLA for my Replicator 2, delivered fast

SainSmart PLA works fantastically in my Makerbot Replicator 2.

I tried ordering plastic from Makerbot directly but delays on every color I wanted led to me check for other sources. Seems this complaint is common. Guess what? I saved $11/spool and got every color I wanted 2 days later.

Thank you Amazon Prime and the power of internet forums! There are lots of providers of PLA but people have a lot of trouble sorting them. From varying thickness of the strand's diameter to differing melting points of the plastic there is a lot to look out for. I found the SainSmart stuff to work very reliably.

After you order the plastic you will need to print a new spool holder. This pattern worked fine for me (I did rotate the model on the build plate, so it didn't build straight up!) Also, I read around on the internet and then experimented with extruder temperatures. The Replicator 2's default setting of 230F is too hot for the SainSmart, I find 215F works much, much better in my home.

I've tried Black, Red, Blue, Pink and Silver/Grey. So long as your build plate is level and the extruder is clear SainSmart works great!

SainSmart 1.75mm PLA filament

Two-headed Makerbot: the Replicator 2X

MakerBot have announced an update to its Replicator 2 3D printer, this one an experimental model with two heads:

Targeting a higher-end market, the 2X features dual heads for printing more-complex objects. “For the daredevils out there, the Doc Browns, the MacGyvers, the test pilots, we haven’t forgotten about you,” says Pettis in a YouTube video released in advance of the announcement. Whereas the Replicator 2 uses PLA filament, the 2X — like the original Replicator — uses ABS filaments. But the 2X is supposed to run more smoothly, and print in multiple colors and even multiple materials.

“There are many ABS filament fans out there that want to keep using ABS, even though it can be a trickier and more challenging product to use,” Pettis says in MakerBot’s press release.

MakerBot Announces More Advanced Replicator 2X 3-D Printer [Nathan Hurst/Wired]

Pocket Dungeons: a 3D printable dungeon crawl game


If you've got access to a 3D printer, you can download and print a "Pocket Dungeons" set, created by Thingiverse user dutchmogul, who calls it "a modular, competitive dungeon-crawl for two to six players."

With modular, tile-based board design and randomized events, no two games will be alike. Dynamic, tactical game play allows for quick resolution as players control treasure-hungry dungeon delvers vying for gold and glory.

This game has been designed with Pocket-Tactics in mind and the pieces and rules sets will be able to cross over and expand the depth of each range.

The MakerBot blog explains, "This totally modular set was designed in TinkerCAD, a free online and easy to use CAD website that allows you to share directly to Thingiverse. What I like about this little set is that I could see myself having as much, or even more, fun putting together a dungeon layout as I would have playing the game itself."

Pocket-Dungeons

Will Minecraft and Makerbot usher in the post-scarcity economy?


I swear that when I wrote this, I had not seen this PBS Idea Channel video, which argues that Minecraft and 3D printers will usher in a post-scarcity economy.

From the Jetsons to Cory Doctorow, science fiction writers of all stripes have imagined a world where any object could be instantly created. Modern economics on the other hand, is built on the principle of competition for scarce resources. And while it may not seem like a video game and printer could alter this economic reality, we beg to differ. Minecraft's creative mode is the perfect vehicle for understanding a Post-Scarcity world; a place where resources are permanently available and constantly regenerated. It shows that with unlimited resources, people end up creating amazing digital structures! Of course, a world of infinitely available resources seems pretty fantastical until you consider the Makerbot and the future of 3D printing. The Makerbot is an at home device that allow you to print real three dimensional objects, meaning a Minecraftian future where you can print anything you want at anytime might not be that far away.

Will Minecraft and Makerbot usher in the post-scarcity economy?

3D printed "mixtapes" from Makerbot

MakerBot has a delightful way of reviving the mixtape: a 3D printed MP3 player kit that looks like an old-fashioned cassette. You can either download and print the chassis yourself and assemble the device, or order the whole thing in assembled form. The Makerbot Mixtape holds 2GB, can be used as a thumb-drive, and plays directly through a headphone jack.

The MakerBot Mixtape

3D printed scale armor


Thingiverse user Krest has posted a file to help you print your own scale armor on your MakerBot or other 3D printer: "Print, paint, and tie together, that's it."

Although Krest’s shoulder scale armor uses leather cords which can be adjusted for fit, I think it would be really interesting to use an elastic cord so that the armor could bend and flex. While not nearly as authentic, it would also be interesting to use loops on the inside of each scale instead of holes which might allow for a seamless appearing exterior.

Awesome Scale Armor by Krest

Printing out robots with your MakerBot

Annelise sez, "This is an episode of MakerBot TV which is all about making DIY Robots with MakerBots!"

The MakerBot design team is building a Robot Petting Zoo to bring to this year's Maker Faire. In this video you'll get a behind-the-scenes look at how they conceptualized, designed and created these amazing DIY robots!

MakerBot TV S02E11 - MakerBot A Robot! (Thanks, Annelise!)

HOWTO make a 3D printed, Jingle-Bells-singing, robotic T.Rex skull

Inspired by his 4-year-old son, Rweaving 3D printed a T.Rex skull and taught it to roar out Jingle Bells. Now that's seasonal fun!

It was my son’s idea to create a dinosaur skull that would sing jingle bells. This is the result of that project. The skull is controlled via servo motor triggered by the music. The skull, stand and mechanics were printed using a Makerbot Thingomatic. You can make your own by going to http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:14248 ...I love being able to take my 4 year old’s crazy idea and making it into reality.

Jingle Bells Dinosaur Skull

Kit-a-day giveaway from MAKE:

Gareth from MAKE: sez, "To celebrate the release of our special Make: Ultimate Kit Guide, we're running a Kit-A-Day Giveaway between now and Dec 23. We're giving away nearly $9,000 worth of merch from the Maker Shed, including FIVE MakerBots! To be eligible, all you have to do is leave a comment on that day's giveaway."

3D printing a mechanical computer

Chris Fenton is using his MakerBot 3D printer to print out a mechanical computer; here he demonstrates one of the counting mechanisms.

Because I have a 3D printer and I can!

MakerBot is hiring

A sweet gig for NYC-based makers and hackers and 3D printing enthusiasts: MakerBot is hiring support technicians: "To work for support is to be right in the thick of all that is MakerBot — if you find 3d printing exciting, this is the place for you. Send your resume today — that is, if you’ve got what it takes."

3D printed shoelace toggle lets kindergartener tighten his own shoes


Larsie, a Thingiverse user and MakerBot owner, whipped up these 3D-printed shoelace-toggles for his kindergarten-aged son's sneakers, helping the lad tighten his own shoes:

Tying knots in shoelaces has got to be one of the most ridiculous activities in the world. It’s difficult to learn as a child,1 the laces always come undone at inconvenient times, you can trip on them when they do, and you never notice until its too late. Thankfully I don’t remember the days when I was frustrated with the vagaries and inefficiencies that are shoelaces. 2

Can you imagine putting yourself in larsie’s son’s place? 3 The poor guy was so frustrated with tying his shoes that he didn’t want to wear them on the way to kindergarten! Thus, today’s MakerBot hero is larsie for leaping into action and realizing he could design and print spring-operated toggles so quickly he could get his child to school on time!

Stephen Colbert's 3D printed head goes to space

The MakerBot folks printed out Stephen Colbert (they'd scanned it earlier for an appearance on Colbert's show) and attached it to a weather balloon with a FlipCam and a GPS; Colbert's head sailed into space, got some killer photos, and politely transmitted its location once it had returned to Earth.

Not content to confine ourselves to mashups, we initiated the MakerBot Space Program with a mission to send a bust of Stephen Colbert into space on a weather balloon with a Flipcam and a GPS enabled cell phone.

Special thanks to Bre Pettis, Jonathan Monaghan, Keith Ozar, Luke Schantz, Anney Fresh, Eddie Codel, Mariko Kosaka, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Neff for the R&D, launch, and recovery of this, our first MakerBot Space Mission.

MakerBot Sends Colbert into Space « MakerBot Industries (via Make)