Moore’s Law of Blogging

MakerBlock will double his nonsense output and become more incomprehensible every six months.”

Thanks Erik!

Edit: For those of you who don’t want to click through, Erik de Bruijn’s tweet was:

The amount of #RepRap news also appears to double every 6 months. It’s becoming hard to follow even a good portion of it, @makerblock! ;)

Hey, Erik – if you think it’s hard following even a good portion of RepRap news, try following the bad portion of it here!

Wakka wakka wakka! 1  I’ll be here all week – try the veal!

  1. For some reason I’ve been channeling Fozzie Bear… []

It will be mine. Oh yes, it WILL be mine…



MakerBot just announced their brand spanking new 3D printer – the Thing-O-Matic!  As far as I can tell, the highlights are as follows:

  • Automated Build Platform – version 2.0???  Guys, I just built my version 1.0 a few DAYS ago!  Did you design a time machine to let you import new developments from the future?
  • MK5 Plastruder – I’ve got a MK5 and I’m very very happy with it.
  • Internal electronics like Charles Pax’ Muffin CNC.  The wires sticking out all over on my ‘bot make it look extra DIY.  Having all the electronics and wires inside certainly make the Thing-O-Matic appear more like a real honest-to-goodness appliance.
  • Generation 4 electronics.  I don’t know what in all this means – except that I can plug a standard USB cable into it rather than the funky cable I currently have and it will allow for some kind of automated printing.  The Cupcake requires a fair amount of attention when you’re setting it to build something – getting the print head to the exact right height is something you just get used to.  For all I know, there are other improvements with the Gen 4 boards – but I’m waiting to hear just like you guys.  :)
  • Higher resolution.  I can’t wait for more details!!!  From the announcement post, it appears that Z axis will move much faster – fast enough that the blobs that can occur between layers could be a thing of the past.  These have never been a huge problem and I’ve gotten used to a little post-production finishing on my parts – but it would be great to not have to do nearly as much.

I’m wondering how the Thing-o-matic homes in on the correct start position?  Does it do this with opto-endstops?

What do you want to know about the Thing-o-matic?

Unbelievable deal on Cupcake CNC’s

Apparently MakerBot is getting ready to launch a new 3D printer and is putting their Cupcake CNC’s on sale.  I’ve had an absolute blast with my MakerBot over the last nine months.  I bought the Deluxe Kit for $950.  With shipping and taxes it came to just over $1,000.  I haven’t confirmed it with MakerBot, but it looks like their new Cupcake Starter kit is the same thing as their Deluxe kit except it doesn’t have the extra 5 pounds of plastic.  Sure, this kit doesn’t have the MK5 plastruder, heated build platform, or automated build platform – which means it’s basically identical to Cupcake kits sold a year ago.  Oh, and the Starter kit is only $650.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a 3D printer anyhow, this is your chance.  I don’t know what the new printer is, but $650 is a crazy deal for a kit with everything you need.1

  1. Yes, I now write for the MakerBot blog, but all I really do is post what I would have written here anyhow over on their blog.  I don’t get kickbacks or anything for saying how awesome I think this deal is. []
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Why is NPR suddenly talking about the zombie apocalypse???

I don’t know what the deal with NPR is, but they’ve been giving a lot of attention to the zombie apocalypse lately.  I’m being totally serious.

Last Friday they interviewed someone with a book about math and the zombie apocalypse.  A few days before that they had a bit about a course in zombie studies.  Today I heard a caller on their morning call-in show ask a question about the zombie apocalypse. 1

What is it about zombies, apocalypses, or zombie apocalypses that has brought these issues to the forefront of NPR’s coverage?

Halloween?  Full moons?  The recent Resident Evil movie?

  1. It seems that this trend may go back well over a year… []

Inside scoop on the MakerBot decision to launch an announcement of an impending launch

This morning MakerBot tweeted:

Last week we launched the MakerBot Automated Build Platform and the MakerBot Cyclops 3D Scanner and this week we’ve got more to launch!

Uh, let me guess guys – this week you will launch an announcement announcing the launching of a MakerBot Cyclops Automated MK37 3D Build Plastruder Platform Scanner DIY kit. 1

This just isn’t fair.  I’m still enjoying my Plastruder MK5 and looking forward to automated building.  Just because Christmas is a lot of fun doesn’t mean sixteen Christmases back to back are sixteen times better2  Besides, we’re in a recession hoping for an economic recovery – and here you are basically causing the financial ruin of Tony Buser. 3

  1. These announcements of launches of announcements remind me of the recent Daily Show / Colbert Report build up for their competing rallies… []
  2. Just 2 to the power of 4 times as many paper cuts. []
  3. With Tony unable to afford clouds, where will our SCADs live??? []

Speaking of Zombie Overlords…

Have you seen Daybreakers?  It’s a movie about vampire overlords. 1  There was basically no reason for about 95% of the entire movie.  But, other than one super large glaring plot hole, it wasn’t that bad.

  1. Let me guess, Dave – you welcome our new zombie vampire robotic overlords, too? []
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Blueprints for building a Dalek

You must already know by now that I am a fan of Doctor Who.  I really wanted to build one as a kid – and had even heard the BBC had long ago published and gave away designs on how to make your own.  Then, about a week ago I saw this blog post showing a form letter kid received from the BBC in the mid-eighties after inquiring about the plans.  The letter from the Doctor Who Production Office politely and patiently explains the plans, originally released in 1973, included cost projections that were out of date.  There’s a short disclaimer saying the kid should not use it for commercial purposes, etc.  And, they close with an apologetic not saying they are unable to assist with finding suppliers.

Yesterday morning another blog post went up linking to the actual plans themselves!  There’s also a link to Project Dalek – a fan site for people who share information about the Daleks they are building.

Edit: Each page of the plans are scanned and online as separate GIFs, one set as black and white and the other set as grayscale.  I’ve zipped the scans and turned each set into a separate PDF.  I’ll upload them shortly.