To Do: Fix Makerbot, Laser Cutter & CNC Machine

Remember a few months ago when we were trying to determine what sort of “big ticket” tools we wanted to buy? It was a toss up between a CNC, a Laser cutter and a 3D printer. The laser cutter was the top requested tool, but a little out of our price range at $20,000+. The 3D printer is popular at many hackerspaces, but we decided to go with a CNC machine as it has a practical application. Thus, we started pooling resources between members in hopes to buy a Sherline CNC.

Lo and behold, we now have all three devices in our possession! A Makerbot Cupcake CNC 3D printer, a small MAXNC10 CNC mill and a 100W Laser! The Makerbot was brought in yesterday by a fine gentleman named Zac, who built the machine a year or so ago but doesn’t use it often these days. It needs a few tweaks to get it operational, but will work once we get some plastic for it. The MAXNC10 mill was brought in a few weeks ago by Brian and was configured by Colin, but we’ve since re-imaged the host computer and haven’t had time to reconfigure the device. The Laser cutter is huge – 4′ x 3′ cutting area with a 100W tube! This guy is able to cut wood, plastic, granite, paper, cardboard – pretty much everything except metal (because it disperses heat too fast). Unfortunately, this machine was subjected to a nasty internal fire that fried some of the belts and control circuitry, so we can’t use it yet. Brian is loaning Protospace this sexy beast for at least six months on the condition that we help him fix it, and fix it we will!

The little CNC that could, once it's configured

The MAXNC10 CNC machine is an older and smaller CNC mill, but still can be useful for creating small or accurate parts & designs. Right now, it sits beside a newly installed Windows 7 32bit machine that has the Mach3 software installed but not configured. We need someone to sit down at the bench and load the proper config files to allow the PC to talk to the CNC. Simple stuff, just takes a bit of reading.

The beast of a laser cutter

As previously stated, a damaged 100W laser cutter with a 4′ x 3′ cutting area. An internal fire burned through the two belts that move the cutting head, as well as a few wires and buttons that turn the machine on and off. We’ve already replaced the charred glass and the hydraulic arms on the lid, but we are waiting for the remaining parts to arrive in the mail. Once we have the parts, we plan to have a 6-10 weekend repairathon, hopefully on Sunday, Nov 27th or Dec 4th.

The Makerbot Cupcake CNC

Just got this yesterday, can’t wait to see it in service! It’s the Cupcake CNC with a Plastruder MK3 print head and has a RepRap v1.2 mobo, but I haven’t had time to plug it in yet. It will need a few tweaks and finely tuned adjustments before plastruding prototypes, and probably some plastic too. Don’t think we have any of that…So bottom line is – we have achieved our trifecta of awesome makerspace tools, but they all need a little TLC before we see them in operation.

So come down to Protospace to get your fix on!

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