All the Rostock printers made me want to print some taller files – here’s your chance.
Just for a bit of history on MakerBot Z-axis print heights:
- Cupcake CNC: 100mm
- Thing-O-Matic: 120mm
- Replicator: 150mm
- Replicator 2: 155mm
And to check in on some competitors:
- Printrbot Plus: 203mm
- Ultimaker: 220mm
- Series 1: 230mm
With the swapping of just 6 pieces*, a Replicator 1 can be made into the (Unofficial) Replicator XL – with a Z-axis build area of 250mm. The only pieces needed are 4 new wood panels and 2 smooth rods.
How much bigger is it? The Replicator 1 build volume is 300 cubic inches. The Replicator 2 is 410 cubic inches. (Unofficial) Replicator XL? 500 cubic inches (err…498 I think).
I also figured if I was in there editing files, I might as well make it look a little more like the Replicator 2, so all of the ‘window’ shapes have been changed to reflect the ‘new look.’
Enough talk, let’s get to the photos!
The smooth rods I used are: mcmaster.com/#6459K112 (8mm x 400mm)
Big thanks to Bruce Wattendorf (of Giant Ultimaker fame) for helping with my meager DXF editing skills. Thanks also to Dan and Jetty for helping after I spent hours messing with broken firmware.
The new parts are cut in 5.5mm plywood.
NOTE: You need to use Sailfish firmware for this to work correctly. The MakerBot 5.5 firmware won’t work no matter what.
There have been reports that early Replicators may have had longer wires, long enough that they don’t need any wires being spliced, but mine needed about a dozen wires extended – including steppers, fan power, and extruder heater wires. My thermocouple, HBP, and endstop wires on mine were all long enough.
Before starting I took a few detail shots of my MightyBoard wiring for reference, since there aren’t really any published assembly instructions:
A lot of the assembly should be easy enough to understand – you need to replace the side panels as well as the front and rear, which means removing the LCD panel and the entire X / Y gantry section. I have some detail shots here that I thought would be helpful to understanding reassembly:
There are a bunch more here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabella/sets/72157631867590921/with/8195856299/
One trick to making this work correctly is that the Z-axis threaded nut (it’s brass) will need to be flipped from the top of the Z platform to the bottom. It’s only held in with 4 screws, but it requires taking apart part of the platform to access it. On my machine I had to remove the cover plate with the “The Replicator” and MakerBot circle logos to get to the nut. Unthread it off the rod, lift the platform, put it on the rod (upside down now) and screw it in from the bottom. It should look like this:
If you don’t flip the nut it won’t let the platform go high enough.
Speaking of which, you’ll need to move your Z-endstop from the pre-drilled holes to the slots to be able to adjust it enough for it to work.
You’ll need to make two edits to your start and end.gcode files to make this work right:
before: G1 X-110.5 Y-74 Z150 F3300.0 (move to waiting position)
after: G1 X-110.5 Y-74 Z250 F3300.0 (move to waiting position)
before: G0 Z150 ( Send Z axis to bottom of machine )
after: G0 Z250 ( Send Z axis to bottom of machine )
Electronics Note – IMPORTANT:
The Mightyboard is super sensitive to being wired up wrong, resulting in pops, sparks, flames, and various other ways to kill it. Take photos of the wires before you change them, and triple check before you turn power back on! You’ve been warned.