Sunday, June 19, 2011

The final death of Makerbot #469

After 18 months of ownership, and literally not going more than 3 days ever without printing or being took apart, my Makerbot has finally died.  She lived a very hard life.

-1st 4 months was spent rebuilding the hot end on a nearly weekly basis (back then, all of us Makerbot folk where purely convinced that the reason our Mk4 extruder crapped out all the time was because of "nozzle blockage"...  Well it was a crappy idler that was causing it the whole time.  We all learned that lesson the hard way.

-I did my very 1st Demo last year at the 1st Annual Makerfaire in Raleigh NC.  I had over 40 different kids print off those awesome Zodiac pieces from thingiverse.

-After that I sort of got demo fever, I have done demos at over 5 different schools in the last year.

-They wrote an article up on my and my Makerbot for the local paper, they even interviewed Bre for it.

-Eventually because of repeated issues with my printer I designed the Brutstruder.  To be followed very shortly by helping Rick at Makergear design his Brustruder that is used to this day on his kits.

-I got sick and tired of the Z wobbling all over the place so I replaced them Acme Rods.

-My Heated build plate died several times.  I used every single iteration of the Makergear heated build plate, and found every way to screw up it's construction and fry it.

-I jumped in both feet on cheap plastic from 3d Ink, only to find the only way to break a Makergear hot end.  Feed it filament that seems to have sand in it (no crap).

-I had to replace the relay board, I had to replace the motherboard, I had to replace the extruder controller... TWICE.  I had to replace a stepper controller.  I went though over 15 thermistors, 25 feet nichome, 5 PTFE thermal barriers, and 1 PEEK (how to you break a PEEK?  cross thread it that's how :) ).

-The final death came when Makerbot decided to no longer sell extruder controllers and mine died.  So my Acme rods and Brustruder have moved over to a friend at the hackerspace who has never managed to get his Mk5 extruder to act nice. 

Final Tally:

-33 total RepRaps printed, 8 being Sells Mendels, 1 Huxley and the rest Prusa Mendels (Of those 5 are at the hackerspace and still "mine".  Plus the ability to give away over 10 extruders in the old loaner program, and very casually print replacement parts for people with broken extruders, gears etc.

-I think RepRaplogphase is one of the most subscribed RepRap related Youtube channels and blogs in the community, of course behind Nophead,, and Makerbot... But that’s still not bad for it just being me.

-My Makerbot made out hackerspace, literally.  Even though I have always had RepRap (since I manged to print my 1st one over a year ago), my Makerbot has always been my bread and butter machine.  The people who helped start the hackerspace partially joined to have access to that machine.

So as I sit here, and look at my Makerbot, with the motherboard sitting in the build chamber, no Z axis, a whole in the front for the manual control for my 1st HBP, and wood that is almost black in places where skin oil and silicone has stained the wood.... I can't help but smile. 

As much as I have hated this machine at times, it's the best purchase I have ever made.  Now it goes to the attic for my grandkids to marvel over in 30 years when they clean up after my death (Don't worry kids, people picked on the wood box printer before it was even new!).  And the Steppers are going to live on in... you guessed it, another RepRap.

Thank you Adam Mayer, Zach Smith and Bre Pettis  It was a great machine and I will always be in your debt.


  1. Neil,

    It sounds like #469 has already gone through the organ donation process - but... as we're Batch-mates and all (I've got #465, Bender). I would love to send you my extra extruder controller, if you would use it to resurrect #469. :)


  2. I don't think I'd ever be able to scrap my Spartan #117... It would be too weird for me. Besides, then I wouldn't be a MakerBot operator any more.

  3. I will always be a MBoter, I have the scars to prove it. :)

    Thanks for the offer Jay, your awesome as usual for offering, but as you said, it's organs have been donated to a Mboter who has not had a good print in the 6 months he has his bot.

    Now I have to get good at using a toolpath that isn't RepG :)

  4. In that case, I'm both happy and sad for your poor exhausted 'bot. It had a good and long life of service and helping and deserves a proper wake.

  5. Viking Funeral with the wood parts?

  6. Out of curiosity, are you planning on getting another MBI machine? Or I suppose the big question is if you are planning on purchasing another printer, or keep using the Mendel line?

  7. I have a Makergear Mendel on the way to document (horrible habbit). But likely I will always be reprap from now on. You can build 3-4 machines for what a MB wants for a machine now.