MakerBot’s New 3D Printer: The Thing-O-Matic!

Posted by on Saturday, September 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

Announcing the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic 3D printer. 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 and then requires human intervention 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! Here at MakerBot our mission is to democratize manufacturing and this machine is one great step for personal fabrication!

Fully Automatic

The 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 v2.0 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 of this fresh machine to offer 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 are 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.

Tagged with 85 comments

85 Comments so far

  • James Taylor
    September 25, 2010 at 10:50 am

    This little guy looks bad to the bone! You guys have been rockin’ it in the BotCave as of late. Any idea when you will be posting the bits in SVN? I am just a lowly college student and can’t afford to buy one of these bad boys. I started building the CupCake, but will be tossing that and starting on a Thing-O-Matic. I just purchased the MK5 Extruder (with two years worth of birthday money :). Anyway, thanks to all the nerds in the BotCave, I will eagerly be checking the SVN repository for the Thing-O-Matic.


  • Aaron
    September 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Too expensive:P

  • Ben Rockhold
    September 25, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Just in time for the new school year!
    The technology club I mentor is going to be thrilled to have a new machine to construct.

  • MakerBlock
    September 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

    @Aaron: You know, it’s cheaper than a Cupcake plus heated platform and MK5 was just a few weeks ago. If you can’t come up with the dough for the Cupcake kits while they last! 3D printing doesn’t get cheaper for a complete kit…

  • tmophoto
    September 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

    great work. looks like a great new machine. do you have any info on the new electronics?

    what is the build size on this machine?

    have fun at makerfaire!!

  • Owen
    September 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

    That looks like a great rev of the cupcake format. @Aaron, I was wondering on what goes into the pricing structure of their products. If the IP is considered free(given away) the costs are for the workers who source all the parts for you. But what I realize now is that the cost also is funding Open Source Research. The only way that OPen source hardware can succeed if it is not the “hobby time” or off hours time of people, but when truly smart and dedicated people have the time and support to work. These aren’t university Professors who have funding from schools, they are independent people working full time. IF you think that 2000 Cupcake kits have funded this much work in a year and half. Try to imagine what they will be able to create in the next year.

  • tmophoto
    September 25, 2010 at 11:24 am

    is that a prototype? just wondering about the extra stepper mount holes on the top

  • Rhenium
    September 25, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Very interesting… more pictures would be great.

    Thanks Makerbot

  • Ryan (Makerbot #1889)
    September 25, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Doh! Bought my makerbot right before the mk5 plastruder and automated build platform were announced. It gets get more obsolete every day and I’m not even up and running with printing yet. (>_<)

    But, honestly, the very idea that I can say such a thing about an open source project like this makes me happy. That's some crazy fast progress. Well done!

  • Greg C
    September 25, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Any videos of it in action?

  • Sikko
    September 25, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Congratulations! The new model looks good, especially the redesigned z-stage. What is missing to me is the build surface size. It is bigger, but how big?

  • Sveinn
    September 25, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Wow! This looks totally sweet! I’m going to have to order one now. One question… What is the build volume? The description of the ABP2.0 implies that it is larger, but no actual dimensions are given.

  • hybot
    September 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Could the extra stepper mount holes on the top be support for a 2nd tool head? Although a little hard to tell in this photo, this one from MakerFaire shows a better angle on the size of the head platform.

    In any case, I decided to pre-order one this morning. Always a risk the early batches will have teething problems, but I wanted to be sure I had something to do (i.e., curse at and pull my hair out over) during the holidays, and think that long before these start to ship there is a good chance that the leadtime will be into next year. (A risk for the first batch too of course.)

  • tmophoto
    September 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    hybot good call


  • Rich
    September 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Can we get a video of one of these puppies in action? I wanna see it printing rabbits and rabbits and rabbits and rabbits..

  • Rob
    September 25, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Sounds great, I want to order one but could you answer these few questions:
    – Does it ship with any plastic?
    – Is it compatible with the Frostruder MK2 and the Unicorn?
    – Will it work fine with the filament spindle box?

  • Regulus
    September 25, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I love the new design.
    I think the “Extra” stepper mount is probably just there because the top plate is symmetrical, aiding in ease of construction. Of course, why it’s there and what you can use it for are totally different. I look forward to seeing what crazy addons will be made for this.
    I am loving the USB slave port, that makes the cable so much nicer than the version with the giant connector. I really, really need to take a look at the Gen4 boards.

    Oh, and that fan grill is sexy.

  • Bill
    September 25, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    “larger platform” How much larger? What is the new printable volume?

  • george
    September 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I am a professional scam artist for a living. I don’t attain any money or possessions which isn’t scammed. I sell “snake oil” by the thousands and laugh at my naive customers who take the bait. With that said, I can with professinoal experience say that makerbot is a “scam”. Don’t get me wrong, I own their products and am now satisfied with my makerbot printer.

    With that said, Makerbot just came out with something of which I finally have zero desire to buy. A glorified version of what I already own at best. I spent hundreds to make work which should’ve worked just fine out of the box. Potential makerbot owners are now expected to be thrilled that they can buy for $1225 what Makerbot had already promised for $750, hurray?! 😐

    touche Makerbot, touche

  • Mike
    September 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Hmm, can we get some wiki/build documentation? And separate parts for it?

  • Wilson
    September 25, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Long live Makerbot! Hooray!

  • charles
    September 25, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    can we have some details please?

  • Jarred
    September 25, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I would venture to guess that, as Bre is currently at MakerFaire NYC with some undefined number of additional MakerBot employees, that they have not gotten around to full documentation yet. I suspect that will follow next week. Personally, I am thrilled. This machine offers incremental improvements to the original cupcake design, as well as being supplied with the mk5 and the ABP, for a price lower than what I would have spent on the Deluxe Cupcake, mk5, and ABP last week.

    I am allowed to get one as soon as school lets out this year, and I am already counting down. Until then, I can’t wait to see what you guys have planned! Love the new machine, and I cant wait to read the documentation & specs on it!

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  • regulus
    September 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    At the most basic possible difference, the addition of the ABP ($160) as well as the MK5 ($185) makes the $750 basic device (which, I should add, needed a lot of DIY and extra parts to run) into a bit more than $1000.
    The new electronics, more efficient stage system, and general polish is easily worth $200.

    I have a generalized contemptuous regard for anyone expecting anything to just work, and even moreso for those that expect a KIT to come together without much intervention. It takes hardly any research to properly construct a cupcake from a kit (given enough careful reading and competence), and if it’s not worth the money in terms of your time, you can even build one entirely DIY for less than $300 — and hundreds of hours.
    Feel free to do a better job for less money and time.

    TL;DR: This is an overly-long dismissal of a critic.

  • Ian
    September 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I’m looking forward to seeing some detailed photos of prints from this version. From the pictures I saw in reviews of the UP! Personal Portable 3D Printer, the Chinese have beaten the Cupcake’s print quality with a plug and play unit, and are coming close to the quality of pro-level FDM machine. It doesn’t have the the ABP however, and costs 3x as much as the Thing-o-matic.

    The UP! also uses the build material as support material. The software determines where it is needed and adds it at a low enough density that it can be snapped or cut off. That’s a software feature rather than hardware, so hopefully the Makerbot guys or a community member will figure out how to add it to the Cupcake and Thing-o-Matic.

  • Wilson
    September 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm


    Let’s see you build a better printer for the money. If your ‘bot isn’t printing well enough for you, maybe you can put some of your “snake oil” on it to fix it. Full of criticism, but no ideas. Dumbass.

  • Dave
    September 26, 2010 at 12:02 am

    The rabbit in the photo looks like the ears have a build angle not possible with out support material?

  • Gian Pablo
    September 26, 2010 at 2:11 am


    You can print the rabbit on a regular Cupcake CNC, without support material.

    Here’s mine:

  • Gab
    September 26, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Wondering when will they start offering Gen 4 electronics for sale, really want to update my makerbot electronics

  • Nemorem
    September 26, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Wondering what the update kit will cost. Just bought automated build plattform and mk5, so it would be new z Stage and electronics, maybe requires a new case. Well looking forward to it. Can’t just throw away good old cupy no matter how shiny the now one looks 🙂

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  • tmophoto
    September 26, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    its a whole new machine. i dont think you can upgrade a cupcake to this one.

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  • Archarzel
    September 26, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I think upgrading from a top of the line makerbot to the Thing’o’matic would be possible via upgrade kit.

    You would need the 2.0 ABP, the new electronics, the new z-stage assembly and the laser-cut parts.

    The downside is that i doubt that would be a truly affordable “upgrade kit” since the components are probably pushing $500 right there…

    The only bits you saved would be the salvaged rods, nuts, and bolts, e.g.: Most of the hardware burrito.

    If you want to upgrade, you’re price point would be buying the individual parts as they come out and find somewhere that can laser cut your box on the cheap.

    I’m just worried that there’s no plastic coming with it 🙁

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  • Jarred
    September 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    No plastic with it is to reduce the price, I think. Personally, I see it as more freedom for the buyer. I can now choose how much plastic of each color I want! Even though it costs a little more than it appears (because the plastic is needed).

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  • Archarzel
    September 26, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    It’s just that anyone who’s new to the scene jumping in who doesn’t pay close attention when they go to buy it might get it without plastic and be stuck waiting until another order can get to them. Would be rather annoying.

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  • BirchSama
    September 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

    What’s with the price?

    Can you just call it Cupcake 2.0 and keep the same price? How can people actually afford it if the price gets bigger once every update? C’mon, Makerbot, you make awesome product, keep ’em affordable please.

  • tmophoto
    September 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm


    i dont think they can sell it for the same price. the components to make a more accurate machine are substantially more $. precision costs money there is no way around that unless you use an broken inkjet printer for parts, you can get a cupcake for 649 $ that’s an insanely good deal better than ever before in the history of humanity.. they are more affordable than ever. you cant expect a company to release better and better products and drop the price every time.

  • Paul
    September 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I have two questions:

    1) Is this intended to completely replace the cupcake in the makerbot lineup, or will the cupcake still be available (presumably at its non-sale price) for those who want to purchase a less expensive machine?

    2) Will the auto-centering/auto-homing functionality be propagated to the gen 3 electronics? That’s something I’d really like to see, particularly now that the unicorn plotter is now available. It would be pretty cool to be able to do double-sided boards with an etch-resistant pen and the unicorn. Everyone with gen 3 electronics could upgrade themselves to gen 4.

  • tmophoto
    September 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    you can do anything you want to upgrade the cupcake, its open source and anything is possible.

    get some endstops while they are still in stock (before everyone else realizes they should have them/will need them) and wait patiently for the release of the new machine/repg20/source for the new machine.
    get em while you can!! 🙂

  • Paul
    September 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Good point, tmophoto. I figured it was more a firmware issue than anything else, but it seemed reasonable to ask. Does the thing-o-matic use optical endstops? I seem to recall that the makerbot people were working on mechanical endstops at one point (

    Having said that, I want to say that repg has a home button on the control panel, which might be enough to do double-sided boards. I can’t check at the moment, but I will when I get home.

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  • hybot
    September 27, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    For your first question, the sale of the cupcakes, basic and deluxe, both come with a comment in the descriptions of “when they’re gone they’re gone”, strongly implying that no, they will not be available once they clear stock. Of course I don’t speak for MakerBot, and even if this is a correct reading they could always change their minds.

    I would think that stock of various parts won’t be depleted by the time the kits are, and that they might even make some effort to re-stock some frequently replaced cup cake specific parts (especially those that are not easily printable or otherwise obtained), which would make good business sense, but that’s just speculation. Parts that will be common between the two printers, such as the Mk5 plastruder, shouldn’t be an issue, but exactly what all those are we don’t know yet.

    If there are spares or upgrades you’re sitting on the fence over, it’d probably be wisest to purchase them now.

  • tmophoto
    September 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    its mechanical, but either will work.

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  • Paul
    September 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the picture, tmophoto. I was wondering about some of the details of the new XYZ arrangement, and that clarified things a lot. I’ll have to get some endstops and try it on my cupcake.

    @hybot: I hadn’t noticed the “when they’re gone, they’re gone”. Good call on getting spares, etc. now.

    Incidentally, I went to to take a look at the gen 4 electronics (which appears to be motherboard 2.1, extruder controller 3.2, mechanical endstop 1.1, and stepper controller 3.1, based on, but the 3.1 stepper files have been “deprecated”. Anyone know what the thing-o-matic uses if not 3.1?

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  • antona
    September 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I would hope the good people at MBI would offer some ‘upgrade path’ for their loyal CC customers to follow. A kit of parts (with a $500 max price) or a hefty existing CC customer discount on the purchase of a new T-O-M for example.
    A lot of us have spent $1K for a CC, and would not be able to justify another $1.3K for a new 3D printer.

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  • Adam
    October 4, 2010 at 10:36 am

    this looks great. resolutions sounds awesome. .35 wasn’t bad reoslution, it was just mis aligned all over the place.
    it burns a little that I ordered a cupcake exactly one week before the price dropped 100 and announced this… ah well.

    here’s to hoping you sell smaller kit bundles, I’d rather give you guys my money but if not I’ll most likely just print the thing-o-matic parts off on ponoko (in clear plexi.. mmmmm), throw an mk5 in there, grab some nema 17 elsewhere, and grab the gen4 electronics from you or anyone selling the rep rap kits.

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  • George
    November 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    The improved resolution of this machine makes it rather attractive… Will you guys be putting together a gallery of sample prints, or comparisons so I can see more clearly how much this improves print quality?

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  • Sara
    January 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I’m looking for someone who might be interested in assembling a Thing-o-matic for me. It’s a little more complicated than I anticipated. If interested, what would you charge for this?


  • Twotimes
    January 8, 2011 at 11:10 am


    First, where are you? That’s going to sway what people say. If you are in New England, I’ll happily put it together for you.

  • Twotimes
    January 8, 2011 at 11:13 am


    Just email me at aa2x at mac dot com.

  • James
    January 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    i would love one of these but they are a bit expensive!do you offer a student discount

  • kejosu
    January 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Can we use our own design for thing-o-matic?

  • kmc
    January 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I mean, the mechine ist cool! But if we use the mechine to produce more and more thing for nothing,that means there will be more trash on the world! For the Environment that wouldn’t be a good news. I hope you guys will tell the customers by selling the cool mechine, that care about our earth and don’t make too many wastes!

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  • Jb
    January 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm


    Is there any distributors in Japan??


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    May 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Can’t you make the printed objects go back into raw material form? That way you would recycle the plastic for creating new thingies. Think ecologically!
    – You could recycle your furniture and create new ones.
    – You could create new toys for kids while they grow and get bored on old ones
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  • noel
    September 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    What will all of the things it prints be made of???

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    […] the release of 3D printers intended for home use, like the Thing-O-Matic or the open source RepRap, AM has never been closer to becoming an everyday technology. As designs […]

  • 3D Printing | Rory Jenkins
    August 29, 2012 at 5:02 am

    […] to play with and design objects to fill our needs around the house. Personal 3D printers like the Thing-O-Matic and people like Alex English of Proto Paradigm are helping democratize […]


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