Makerbot MakeIn 09 After Action Report

We held our first Makerbot MakeIn December 27-29 2009. The event was a great success, with lots of people coming in over the 3 days to build, fix, and share experiences with the Makerbot. We had 4 completed bots in house and my Goldbot to went from flat pack to first print. Two of the completed bots were having problems printing and with the combined minds (including out of town help) we got one of them fully functional. Unfortunately the other machines needs some plastruder parts that have to be ordered.  Day 3 was a low turnout half day, ending with the member meeting.  

More details after the break… Oh and we’ll be having monthly MakerBot meetings at the space on 3rd sunday of the month.

Day One (pics on picasa) started about noon with Goldbot arriving painted but otherwise a flat pack. I had given it a coat of flat black on inside and Krylon Gold on the outside and did a test assembly at home.
Hutch and I shared some pastry (donut shop on corner gets a fair rating) and then started building.  CrashSpace didnt have its ‘net connection up but we had enough pre-loaded copies of build instructions (and iPhones that actually got decent signal). Shortly afterwards Dane, Miles and Bo showed up with their completed bots. Several other folks turned up and between us noobs and the experienced builders Goldbot seemed to assemble itself. Seriously – I would start yapping with someone about CrashSpace, etc and then turn around to find another 5-10 steps were completed. We found a few tricks (reaming out tight fit pulleys with a drill bit rolled on the table edge; use a hex key to insert nuts into slots in bot), and some difficulties with design (Y stage tensioning requires disassembly). Oh, and we decided to paint the stage and some other small parts I’d forgotten in the back ally.  By the end of Day 1, Goldbot was ready for the boards and plastruder. (see pic above)

The completed bots were very interesting. Bo’s got an interesting double motor extruder.  Miles has a prototype of JET’s heated platform. Dane’s bot had some serious plastruder problems. People pitched in trying to debug it but it seems to have some serious issues that require replacement parts.

This was the first visit to the space for many people, including one family who found out about the event that morning from the Make Blog post. Dad had gotten a subscription to Make for xmas and was enjoying browsing the site. Hopefully we’ll see them all this next year.  John from SF’s Noisebridge stopped in to check out the space and meet the locals.

We closed up around 6pm.

Day 2 (pics) had a much smaller turnout, but Jordan Miller of Hive76 (Philly) and author of SkeinFox showed up with his dad (Scott) and brother (Noah).  Jordan has a good background with plastruders and was helpful with Dane’s issue. A bit later Amy showed up with her assembled but non functional bot. Jordon with help from family and Dane got her bot up and printing. (Yeah!) Goldbot got its electronics and plastruder assembled.  The Radio Monday folks had their meeting, came back to ShopOne to check out GoldBot and left us to finish up.  It took us a long while but by about 11pm we got our first plastic and built a z-endstop trigger.

Day 3 was a lot quieter. Sean was there early waiting on the network installers (who never showed up).  I stopped at Fry’s to pick up some things I needed (or wanted).  I got to the space around 3 and started trying to get more prints.  Unfortunately, Goldbot didnt cooperate.  Either raft material got caught up around the nozzle or the plastic stopped moving after a few minutes.  I’ll chase these issues down in the coming weeks.

I re-discovered Hu’s Szechwan up on National for some good Kung Pow and then hung out for the member meeting.

Overall it was a very successful MakeIn. I was hoping but not expecting to get Goldbot fully operational.  We did make a lot of good connections and plan to return regularly for monthly Makerbot meetings on the third sunday of each month. First meeting is Jan 17th at 2pm.  I look forward to seeing folks again!

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