1. Can I get a sample part?  Maybe something small?
    • TLDR: Yes!  Send me an e-mail and cover the shipping cost.
    • I would be happy to send you some random scrap parts if you’ll cover the shipping cost.  I ship parts in a small 4″x7″ padded envelope.  Send me an e-mail, confirm I have enough parts lying around, e-mail me your address within the U.S., and then paypal me $3.40 (basically enough for the envelope, postage, and paypal fees).  I’ll send you an envelope packed with an assortment of scraps and parts in ABS and PLA.  Some parts will be failed prints, first (or second) drafts of designs, or perhaps parts that weren’t usable for some other reason.  However, they should give you a really good idea of the level of detail a MakerBot can achieve with a raw build. 1
  2. What is the resolution of a MakerBot Cupcake CNC?  How fine are the layers?
    • TLDR: 0.003125mm in the Z-axis and 0.085mm in the XY axes.
    • A Cupcake CNC is capable of vertical steps along the Z-axis in as little as 0.003125mm.  It can make forward-backwards/side-to-side and XY steps in as little as 0.085mm.  However, that doesn’t take into account how it lays down plastic or the thickness of the plastic extrusion.  I have my machine calibrated for about 0.36mm layers and find it to be accurate to about 0.1mm.  (Imagine a pencil point 0.36mm wide that can draw any place to within 0.1mm)  At the time of this writing, Dave Durant is the current high-resolution record holder capable of printing in 0.1mm layers on a Cupcake CNC.  The Thing-o-matic is supposed to be more accurate.  I have a blog post discussing the resolution.
  3. Would you print something from Thingiverse for me?  How about something I designed?
    1. TLDR: Yes and yes.
    2. If there’s something on Thingiverse, just send me an e-mail and make sure to include a link to the Thing.  If you’ve got your own designs, please e-mail the file as an STL.
  4. What would it cost to have you print something for me?
    1. $0.50 per minute of machine print time for black ABS or clear PLA.  If you need another color, please ask.  If I don’t have it on hand, I can special order it.
  5. What are the printing limitations of a Cupcake CNC?
    • TLDR: Objects less than 10cm cubed with overhangs of no more than 45 degrees.
    • Overhangs of more than 45 degrees are difficult.  I could probably print overhangs up to about 50 degrees, but it is iffy.  The latest version of the control software includes experimental support for printing objects with overhangs.
    • I could print up to about 10cm x 10cm by 12cm tall.  I might be able to print slightly larger than this, but I would need to modify my machine to accomplish that.
  6. What colors and plastic can you print in?
    • I’ve got clear PLA and ABS in black.  I can also print in white, green, yellow, red, blue, or fluorescent red ABS.  If you need another color, I can always special order it.
  7. What’s the difference between ABS and PLA?
    • ABS plastic warps with footprints more than about 2″x2″, but tends to be better than PLA on tall/thin prints.  Warping can be mostly mitigated with the use of a heated build platform.  ABS is a petroleum based plastic.  It will burn if exposed to open flame.
    • PLA plastic has a very low warp factor, but can be more difficult to get detailed resolution on very tall/thin parts.  PLA is derived from corn, is biodegradable under the proper conditions (similar to composting).
    • Both ABS and PLA create sturdy plastic parts that can be sanded, drilled, painted, and otherwise finished.
  8. How durable are the parts?
    • TLDR: Seriously tough.
    • As long as you’ve got a part with an internal fill of plastic of about 15-20%, the printed parts are going to be very sturdy.  Both ABS and PLA made for very tough parts that can stand up to a lot of wear.  Printing parts with little to no internal plastic fill will produce a hollow part that is less sturdy, but prints quicker and has other interesting applications.
  9. Can the Cupcake CNC make a copy of itself?
  1. By raw, I mean the part hasn’t been sanded or otherwise improved post-printing. []
December 7, 2010 | Comments Closed