Hack Manhattan is now printing with a Makerbot, and is working on a RepRap. One of our members, Steve, has given Hack Manhattan a long-term loan of his Makerbot CupcakeCNC 3D printer. He brought in the printer at this week’s member meeting and he and Joe, another member, worked on upgrading the firmware and getting the print head functional. It was printing out warm spirals of ABS plastic that smelled funny in no time.What is a 3D printer you ask? It prints melted plastic on a horizontal and vertical plane, controlled by a computer, in order to deposit material layer by layer until you have a 3D object of hardened plastic. What can you print? Check out Thingiverse, an online library of 3D models for printing.
Speaking of Joe, he’s finishing a set of Mendel RepRap parts to build a RepRap 3D printer for the space and here’s a juicy shot of the completed extruder assembly. He did a fun demonstration of hobbing a bolt to create the mechanism which grips the plastic filament and drives it downward. The extruder is the part of the 3D printer which grips and pulls the plastic down, heats it in a controlled manner, and then squirts it out. This finished ABS assembly is quite rigid and feels very solid.