About this project
The Ultra-Bot 3D printer is the result of me wanting to expand the capabilities of my original Makerbot Cupcake printer. I was first introduced to 3D printing in 2009 when I needed to have some custom parts made for a project I was working on. I then realized I could purchase the Cupcake and print my own parts for less than it would have cost me to have them made by an outside shop. That led me down the path to where I am Today.
Quick Flyover Video of the Ultra-Bot
My first Cupcake was a real eye opener and I quickly fell in love with the entire process of additive manufacturing. That also quickly revealed the shortcomings of it. The Cupcake could only produce small parts, it was slow and had a very low quality of output. One other problem was due to the fact that I routinely travelled with my Makerbot. While transporting, it was frequently damaged or knocked out of alignment causing less than desirable prints.
I decided to see what I could do to fix those shortcomings. I immediately came up with a four phase plan. Step one, eliminate the electronics on the outside. I accomplished that by moving the electronics to the inner bottom plate. Step two, eliminate the Z axis parts on top of the printer. Again, I moved them to the lower portion of the Cupcake. That allowed me to clean up the design considerably. Step three was to utilize the modern electronics now available to increase the build quality and resolution of the parts and lastly, step four, was to increase the build area as large as possible.
Ultra-Bot prototype #5 moving the gantry based extruder for the first time.
The result is the Ultra-Bot. Inspired by the Makerbot Cupcake, but taken to the next logical level of capability. The Ultra-Bot includes modern Generation 6 Electronics, High Precision Stepper Motors and full support for both PLA (standard) and ABS (optional) plastic, the Ultra-Bot is both functional and beautiful.
Made out of 100% clear acrylic, the Ultra-Bot allows you to see your imagination come to life. It's quiet operation will amaze you while the beauty of the mechanical parts will inspire you. With it's larger build area (6 5" x 4.5" x 7") you will be able to produce much larger parts, and couple that with it's advanced 1/16 micro-stepping motor controllers, you'll be able to produce parts equal to the best hobbyist printers in the market. The micro-step motors also offer another advantage... they're quiet... very quiet. Especially when compared to the original Cupcake. Watch the first move video above and turn up the volume... that is as loud as the Ultra-Bot gets!
Here is a dry run of all the mechanicals prior to the first extrusion.
Oh yeah, the best part... if you have an existing Makerbot Cupcake, you can convert it to the Ultra-Bot! We reutilize almost all of the mechanical and electrical components of the Cupcake in the Ultra-Bot. Though it might look the same, there isn't a single part of the chassis that is carried over from the MakerBot... it's an entirely new design that utilizes the "vitamins" from the Cupcake.
One final bonus: All Kickstarters will receive the earliest possible access to the design files and bill of materials. We will then be publishing the designs files on Thingiverse as soon as all of you Kickstarters have received your rewards.
Video of the Ultra-Bot doing a test print at .17mm layer height.
(Please note: unfortunately due to the extreme cost differences, our rewards do not include international shipping in the price... shipping charges will vary depending on your location but will be at actual cost based on the shipper you choose. Shipping for US based Kickstarters is included in the reward price. We manufacture and ship all of the custom parts in our 5800 sq ft. facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana.)
The entire acrylic cut chassis, 4 additional 608 bearings, bowden tube, various needed nuts and bolts. Your Cupcake will donate all the electronics, steppers, wiring, nuts, bolts, rods, pullies... the only unused bits from the MakerBot Cupcake will be the wooden chassis and the small build platform.
Everything from the $199 kit, plus the addition of the Printrboard electronics and Power Supply. You can then sell your MakerBot Cupcake Gen3 or Gen4 electronics on eBay! :-)
The price for shipping for the US is included in the reward's price. For international customers, please calculate the shipping to your destination based on these sizes/weights. The Ultra-Bot Upgrade Kit is 20" x 20" x 10" and weighs 15 lbs. The Utra-Bot Kit is the same size, but weighs 25 lbs. The Assembled Ultra-Bot is 20" x 20" x 20" and weighs 25 lbs. If you are an international customer, once we get close to your ship date, we will contact you regarding your shipping preference. (If we just choose one or two carriers, the price differences could be extreme, so we'll leave it up to you to find the best price for your needs.)
The current prototype Ultra-Bot has a build area of 6.5" x 4.5" x 7", but we are continuing to develop the gantry extruder and expect that to increase in the near future. We will ship all the units with the final production sized gantry which we expect to be 6.5" x 5.5" x 7".
There isn't an exact figure for this due to the many variables involved. However, with that said, the test unit is currently able to make parts as fine as .17mm in layer height with a horizontal resolution less than .1mm. The extruder nozzle is .5mm and the filament feed is 3mm. The parts produced by the Ultra-Bot will be comparable to other 3D printers on the market. You can adjust the various parameters to tune the Ultra-Bot to a variety of printing resolutions. The default layer height will be .38mm, which gives a nice balance between speed and resolution. Our target smallest layer height was .2mm, but we're currently doing less than that right now and expect that it will also go down, possibly to .15 before we ship due to finer tuning.
Yes... here is a video of it printing at a layer height of .17mm.
The Ultra-Bot uses standard RepRap style electronics, so you can use any of the freely available packages. We will be shipping a thumb drive with each full machine with Pronterface and a custom version of Repetier. These will be preconfigured for the Ultra-Bot, so no fine tuning should be necessary.
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