Robbed. During broad daylight. At work. By the mailroom guys.

At least, this is what it felt like

At least, this is what it felt like

I was waiting to surprise you with this, but last week I bought a MakerBot and had it shipped to work. 1

Well, it arrived today… and really… I suppose this is my own fault… but… you see… I was just robbed.

One of the best and most irreplaceable things about getting an awesome new robot is unboxing it.  The mailroom guys at work, well intentioned though they are, opened my MakerBot box.  I suppose I could have told them in advance that the robot should be arriving soon and to be on the look out for it.

Nevertheless!  Tonight I have to clear a space in my Robot Work Area so that I can add my Replicator to the line of robot workers.  But what to name it?  My MakerBot Cupcake CNC is named “Bender,” the MakerBot Thing-O-Matic is named “Flexo.”  There are so many Futurama robots to choose from.

I suppose I could chose a non-Futurama name for my new robot, but it really seems such a shame to break a streak.

  1. Photo courtesy of Timo Newton-Syms []
  2. She’s also a bending unit! []

Men just don’t understand…

So, let’s say I was a tinkerer1 and you told me that you could show me a robot that could make things out of plastic that I would normally have to cobble together out of junk.  I would say that is awesome.

During the most recent Ask An Engineer Woz was2 talking about her knitting machine.  LIGHT BULB.

Honey!  Honey!  Guess what?!   Did you know there are such things as KNITTING MACHINES!?!  I mean, ROBOTS that would do all that tedious knitting FOR you!  We could just program it and it would just make stuff for us!  Isn’t this awesome?!  <Wait for squeals of glee>



Apparently there’s something about the act of knitting that is considered productive.  I don’t know.  I’m not convinced.

Isn’t humankind just all leading up to the point that we’re all like the Jetsons and I have a robot at work that pushes the single button for me.3 And jetpacks.  Can’t forget the jetpacks.

Where was I?

Oh, knitting robots.  Okay, here’s the thing – I may not be interested in knitting, but a knitting robot interests me. 4 5  I am not interested in knitting something myself any more than I am interested in actually building something layer by layer with a hot glue gun that shoots molten ABS. 6  But, I am interested in having plastic stuff just as I’m interested in having clothing.

Heck, if I had a super big and super fast knitting robot, I’d probably try to weave paper or cardboard into clothing and then wear it and then try to recycle it into something else. 789 1011

Also, this is what I believe a knitting robot would look like:

  1. which I am []
  2. Was she? []
  3. Reminds me of an old joke about a man and a dog and a data center.  Supposedly you only need one of each to run a data center.  The man to feed the dog and the dog to make sure the man doesn’t touch any buttons. []
  4. Then again, a robot anything interest me. []
  5. A robot carrot, you say?  Tell me more! []
  6. I take that back.  Now that I think about it, a molten plastic gun might be kinda cool.  Bad analogy.  That’s not the point. []
  7. And, I’d be all, *clap* *clap* Knitting Robot!  OoooooooooHHHhhhhhh Knitting Roooooobot!  Knit me a pony Knitting Robot. []
  8. That pony doesn’t look happy enough.  Destroy that pony Knitting Robot.  Make me a HAPPY pony! []
  9. Oh, this one is too happy.  Destroy this pony Knitting Robot.  Knitting Robot…  destroy all ponies. []
  10. Knitting Robot, are you crying? []
  11. Thanks to Dna for the link! []

Spiders + Robots = two great tastes that taste great together

I just uploaded my latest designs to Thingiverse.  I’m working on a RoboSpider using a set of gears run in an elliptical cycle.  I’ve been through a few revisions already and just came up with a new idea on how to design it with a thinner profile and hopefully work more reliably.

Unfortunately, the snap-together system I had designed just wasn’t working very well.  Also, my very VERY DIY gears are a poor substitute for using a legit gear script.  They don’t mesh that well and it shows.  I think I’ll give Cbiffle’s spur gear script filter for Greg Frost’s gear script a shot.

In the meantime, is anyone interested in designing a little rubber band powered motor to drive this thing? – NOT COOL

Okay, you had a robo-blog.  That’s fine.  Nothing wrong with that.  In fact, I’m appreciative for some of those posts and blogs you pointed out to me.  You apologized profusely, though I don’t there’s a need to apologize for a robo-blog per se.

However, since then your robo-blogs have gotten worse.  The one associated with, which links back to your site, is collecting anything and everything with the words “made, make, printer, 3d, 3-d” et cetera.  Oh, but that’s not the worst part.

Botmill is stealing the entire content of other people’s works and not providing any attribution.  That link is to one of my own posts (and not a particularly interesting one) copied whole cloth and posted in your own blog.

Make up your mind – do you want to be a blog aggregator or sell robot parts? There are tons of aggregators out there.  Not many are very good.  The ones that are have a real person picking and choosing.  The robo-blogs are basically packed with irrelevant or useless content.  Turn off the robo-blog and drop the fake secondary sites.  Rather than stealing the content of potential customers, why not write some of your own content.  How about posting some information about your own products?  Or some innovations of your own?  Stolen content doesn’t help you with customers, hurts your Google PageRank, and actually causes ill will.

Why not take a page from MakerBot and MakerGear?  Have a contest, give some stuff away, write some interesting things, ask them for help, show them you care, involve your customers, and form a community.

All the kinds horses

Unfortunately, my Leonardo Robot has a broken hip – I kid you not.  One of the hinge tabs on his hip snapped.

Fortunately, I’ve got a MakerBot.  I can build him better than before.  Perhaps with a 40% fill this time.  ;)

Alternate alternate extruder controller mounting

Tony Buser’s post about his Alternative Extruder Controller Mounting reminded me that I’ve been meaning to show a better picture of my own setup.  I had blogged about it earlier, but not shown a good picture.

Side mounted extruder board, rotated motherboard

Side mounted extruder board, rotated motherboard

Here you can see where I’ve mounted the extruder board at the top left and how I’ve rotated the motherboard 90 degrees counter clockwise.  This gives me better access to the SD card slot.   If you don’t rotate the motherboard, the SD card slot is blocked by the extruder board.

Totally clear plastruder

Totally clear plastruder

Here you can see Leonardo Robot’s arm and how I’ve run the wires from the extruder motor and heater up to the board.

The best things about being an adult

…are really what I thought they would be as a kid.

I can eat pizza for breakfast.  I can have candy for dinner.  I can stay up late.  And, dammit, I can build a robot if I want to.

Neener neener.

MakerBot Cupcake CNC print resolution

Some people have asked me about the MakerBot’s print resolution.  Although this information can be found on the MakerBot wiki, there’s no harm in disseminating this data. 1  Before I get into some of the technical stuff, let me just say this – the print resolution is pretty freaking good for a $750 DIY robot and it will give a $15,000 commercial printer a run for it’s money.

As a printer that can create objects in three dimensions the normal two-dimensional printer resolution jargon of “DPI” or “dots per inch” doesn’t mean much.  The printing resolution for the X/Y axes is 0.085mm and the resolution for the Z axis is 3.125 microns.  Most of the time you’re going to have a Z axis resolution of about 1/3 of a millimeter.  If you print with layers much smaller than that it will take forever to print without a huge increase in quality.

Or, to put it another way…  if you were to hand me two objects one printed on a MakerBot and one printed on a commercial printer, I’m going to ask you why the heck one of them costs $14,000 more than the other.  I’ve printed some pretty intricate and detailed stuff on my MakerBot.  As I tune it I hope to improve it even more.

  1. If you haven’t poked around the website, I highly recommend it.  There’s a lot of information about the Cupcake CNC, RepRap, fused deposition modeling, robots, and all sorts of stuff. []

Leonardo Robot

Leonardo Robot

Leonardo Robot

Freaking cool. This robot was designed by jrombosky by taking the measurements/proportions/ratios from Leonardo DaVinci’s Virtuvian Man. Even if these proportions were all messed up, this would still be super awesome. It’s a little printable robot!!!

Lego Robot Set

Lego Robot Set

It reminds me of a lego set from a few years ago: