*notcot in tech , 04:49

MakerBot Replicator Unbox + Toy Project - 07.01.12

makerbot0.jpg It has been quite the (educational) adventure joining our NOTlabs director, Shawn Sims, and Golan Levin as they launched their Free Universal Construction Kit project… from learning about toys and 3d modeling, to the different 3D printing techniques and materials, to Intellectual Property and Patent law! One of the most exciting and interesting aspect of the project to me personally has been what the average person without access to top of the line manufacturing machines can really 3D print at home, and how does it work? Thanks to the amazing folks at MakerBot, today we got to find out through their Replicator (with dual extruders)!

Anyone can download the variety of Free Universal Construction Kit pieces on Thingiverse, send them to their 3D printer, and shortly after have toy adapters to play with! Of course depending on the resolution of the printer and the printing technique, some pieces will work better than others, so it was thrilling tonight to get to try them out on the MakerBot (the originals were made on an Objet) ~ on the next page you can see a full unboxing and the preparation of the MakerBot Replicator as well as our first “home” printing of some Free Universal Construction Kit toys! (And yes, this is the kind of project that has kept us busy in the NOTlabs till 4:30am!)

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makerbot4.jpg It’s nearly ready to go RIGHT out of the box!

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makerbot6.jpg Rather amazing how efficiently space is used even within the MakerBot to store the components and accessories.

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makerbot11.jpg Spools are loaded!

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makerbot13.jpg Dual extruder heads are definitely worth it ~ they give you the option of printing two colors at once… as well as the ability to print a single color and have support material for more complex designs!

makerbot14.jpg Nice hidden “Keep it awesome” message on the back of the stepstruder!

makerbot15.jpg The playful copy and glowing red M of a button make it easy to use and follow along to get everything set up.

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makerbot17.jpg … feeding the plastic filament in and watching it warm up and start oozing out!

makerbot18.jpg Right extruder worked like a charm!

makerbot19.jpg Left extruder wasn’t so lucky ~ and it gave us an opportunity to dive into the extensive MakerBot support forums… luckily realizing quickly that the problem was material clogged inside from the test print before shipping was the culprit, so taking it apart and unclogging it worked like a charm.

makerbot20.jpg Yay! Now that both extruders were working, we were ready to make our first print!

makerbot21.jpg Naturally we had to try our favorite piece from the Free Universal Construction Kit - a Lincoln Log and Kinex connector!

makerbot22.jpg Here it is in action!

makerbot23.jpg Then you slide it off the build platform and snap off the initial support layer…

makerbot24.jpg … and the toys are connecting together!!!!

makerbot25.jpg So of course we had to start the next one… Lincoln Logs and LEGOs!

makerbot26.jpg SO FUN!

makerbot27.jpg We’re grinning with excitement as we keep printing the toy pieces and experimenting with what the MakerBot Replicator can do… 2 color prints coming up next, but first some sleep!

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