Adding the circuit boards

Once I had the opto-endstops all soldered up, I really wanted to keep going.  I made the Y-endstop cables, bolted the opto-endstops on, and bolted the motherboard and stepper motor boards to the MakerBot.  Clipped in the cables and it looks like a robot after all!  I’m going to need to organize those cables, but that will have to wait until all the other parts are in place.

An interesting side note – as I was moving the various axes someone noticed that little lights started flashing on the stepper motor boards!  Cool!  I presume moving the platform caused the motors to act like generators and pushing power to the boards, lighting up the LED’s.

Once the opto-endstops were done, I couldn’t resist bolting them on.  Once I started doing that, I wanted to make the Y-endstop cables, then the ribbon cables, and wire it all up.

If nothing else, it looks like a robot now!

December 22, 2009 | Comments Closed

How was your weekend?

Oh, you know, about the same. Hung around, watched a movie, built most of a robot. The usual.

December 21, 2009 | Comments Closed


Really what I need to do is tinker less with WordPress and get cracking on this robot…

What was I thinking???

December 19, 2009 | Comments Closed

Mission critical decisions

Such as:  Should I paint?  What color(s)?

I’m thinking I should paint.  I figure it will help the robot body stand up to a little extra wear and tear while looking cool.

Not white or black.  That’s SOooo October 2009.  I’m liking gray/gunmetal/silver.  I’ve only seen pictures of one silver MakerBot and I rather liked it.  (Thank you to RDon Ebben/Robostang 548 for posting pics of his MakerBot 347.)  The picture is a little dark, so I don’t think I can see it to its full effect.

Just the other day a user named unrepentantgeek posted a Google Sketchup version of a MakerBot, to make it easy to test out paint/color schemes.  URG – you’re the best!  Thanks to you, I got to test out this color scheme:

Roughly a 50% gray on the outside, silver on the inside.  (I figure I can’t rightfully name the machine Bender unless it has a shiny metal assplate, right?)

Printed Pulleys Assembled!

I’ve just take the first step to building my MakerBot!  Admittedly, two of the bearings were already in the printed pulleys, but that’s just not the point.  I’ve taken a material step towards building it!  Huzzah!

Printed pulleys assembled!

Printed pulleys assembled!

Oh, and I don’t think I was supposed to have a pack of 8 extra bearings.

No, no, I’m supposed to have these 8 bearings.  I suppose it would help if I read the directions.  (I’m just so used to grabbing things and tossing them together and expecting them to work.  I guess it’s a little more complicated than that when you’re building a robot, eh?)

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I have NO idea what I’m doing!

If you’ve got a Batch IX MakerBot all the surface mount boards should have arrived pre-soldered.  This means the first actual material step to building the robot is to solder the opto-endstops.  These are little circuit boards that contain optical switches that will prevent the machine from moving the build platform (and print head?) too far in a particular direction.  You can find the kits for the opto-endstops in the MakerBot store.  According to the page for these kits:

An optical switch usually used to detect when your robot has reached the minimum or maximum position of travel.

An optical endstop AKA opto endstop is a switch made out of light. When something interrupts the light-beam, then it signals the motherboard. Useful for detecting if your robot is attempting to self-destruct. ;)

Also, there are no moving parts to wear out, so they will last pretty much forever.

So, when all is said and done, hopefully I will have taken this:

OptoEndstops Parts

OptoEndstops Parts

To this:

OptoEndstops v2.1

OptoEndstops v2.1