Hotrod your Cupcake

Posted by on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 in Uncategorized

Rat Rod Front

We’ve been getting lots of questions about ways to improve cupcakes to make them as close to a Thing-O-Matic as possible. If you’ve got a MakerBot Automated Build Platform and MakerBot MK5 Plastruder you’re almost there. When we get our shipment of MakerBot Gen4 Electronics (We’ve been working on these for a looooong time) then you can add that to your cupcake and you’re very close to the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic. The only thing I would add to that setup to have the greatest cupcake of all time would be a MakerBot Filament Spindle Box, lots of reliable MakerBot ABS Plastic, and an LED Lighting strip

The last piece of technology that would really be left is to switch out the Z-Rods and install a cantilevered Z-stage. Plans have already emerged on Thingiverse for that, but would be an expensive upgrade as the motor for the Z-stage has a super fancy integrated threaded rod and there are the fancy bearings on it too.

So in summary, if I were going to buy the awesomest MakerBot Cupcake 3D Printer setup ever with what’s available right now and I was feeling impatient or I was on a budget and couldn’t buy a Thing-O-Matic, I would get:

  1. The MakerBot Cupcake Ultimate (Includes tools and MakerBot MK5 Plastruder and MakerBot Automated Build Platform and MakerBot Relay Kit)
  2. The MakerBot Filament Spindle
  3. The MakerBot Rainbow Plastic Pack
  4. The MakerBot Glow in the Dark ABS Plastic
  5. A MakerBot LED lighting strip (I like the blue, but that’s just my personal choice, the other colors look awesome too)

Update: I got a note from MakerBlock asking about homing and endstops. When we release the Gen4 electronics, the endstops and the Gen4 electronics could get added to this list!

Photo by Ape Fight

Tagged with 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  • pandelume
    October 6, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Regarding the Thing-o-matic Z-stage stepper motor, etc.: I appreciate that the special motor with integrated shaft and thrust bearings may be the ideal solution – but I’m not sure I see why these components can’t be added discretely for much the same effect, albeit with a much larger motor stack. For example, why not the following setup:

    an acme nut (mcmaster-carr 94815A007, $1.96),
    a section of acme rod (mcmaster-carr 98935A703, $5.43),
    a top panel with a ~7mm clearance hole (and a lasercut stage assembly),
    a thrust bearing (mcmaster-carr 6655K33, $2.67),
    a printed or purchased shaft coupler (.25″ x .1875″) – make sure the coupler rides on the bearing,
    and a printed motor spacer 41mm tall?

    This arrangement would take the motor height on the top of the cupcake to about 75mm (pictures added here: ), but unless the motor torque is an issue it should work pretty well as an inexpensive upgrade. With the shaft coupler riding on the bearing there should be no undue stress on the motor. It’s not the kind of thing you’d want as a production model, but why not for a DIY upgrade or even an inexpensive kit?

  • fab
    October 6, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I have a cupcake cnc already get it about 7 months ago and to get it to be a thing-O-matic i have to buy all this stuff
    Plastruder mk5 $185, automated build platform with relay board kit $160, cantilevered z-stage ? expensive upgrade, gen4 electronics ? not out, relay board kit v1.0 $17.50, spindle & box $95, total is $457.50 plus add on gen4 electronics ? not out
    To buy makerbot thing-O-matic $1,225.00

  • pandelume
    October 7, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Actually, I think the gen 4 electronics don’t need the relay board, so you save $17.50 right there.

  • fab
    October 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I think they should come out with a upgrade kit for those with the cupcake cnc that has the PLASTRUDER MK5, AUTOMATED BUILD PLATFORM, GEN4 ELECTRONICS, all in one kit to buy for one price.

  • Adam
    October 8, 2010 at 12:51 am

    There’s a lot of small printable parts for the cupcake on thingiverse. parts that actually increase accuracy or build quality, or just reliability.

    it would be great to see some of those posted in an entry.
    while I understand you’re a company saying that I should buy an LED light kit if I don’t want to fork out for a thingomatic is a tad silly.

    there are ways to actually improve the cupcake, USING the cupcake.
    why this is focused on more confuses me. it should be a point of pride and allow you to learn on ways that will help you improve future designs. we all need to eat and pay the bills but don’t stray too far from the reason you all started this.

  • David
    May 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    I have a MakerBot Cupcake CNC with a RepRap Motherboard v1.2 running Gen3. Is there firmware that will upgrade my MakerBot motherboard to a Gen4? Do I use the 10 pin connection or the 6 pin connection on my motherboard to connect to the 6 pin connection on the stepper motor driver?

    • MakerBlock
      May 25, 2011 at 4:15 am

      @David: I’m pretty sure this isn’t a matter of firmware. The Gen4 motorboard is a fundamentally different set of hardware than the Gen3 in a variety of ways.


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