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Makerbot Thing-o-Matic

Update as of August 12, 2014: Information on this page is relevant for both the Makerbot Thing-o-Matic and the Makerbot Cupcake, both currently being stored on the top shelf of the 3D printer workbench for spare parts or as the basis for other projects. See below for history notes.

Status Offline as of Feb 1, 2014
Training No
Hackable Yes
Usage Restrictions None
Owner VHS
If it Breaks It's already broken but you are welcome to fix it, or hack it
Loan Status Owned
Arrival Date Date
Location Top shelf of 3D printer bench
Value parts
Champion See Compendium of Champions

In late 2010 VHS members crowdsourced $1800 in 18 hours and collectively purchased a Makerbot 3D printer and buttloads of ABS filament in a rainbow of colours.

In late 2011, the Extruder on the 'bot was upgraded to the StepStruder.

The Makerbot is available for anyone to use on “Open Tuesday” nights on a first-come first serve, but be kind and share basis.

If YOU want to print on the VHS MakerBot, here are a few things you may want/need:

ReplicatorG software

You may need to install the FTDI drivers for your OS so your computer will recognize the Makerbot when plugged in via USB.

Select your serial port under the Machine→“Connection (Serial Port)” menu.

Under the Machine→ menu of the ReplicatorG software, select “ThingOMatic w/ HBP and Extruder MK6”

Only re-calibrate the printer if the first layer looks incorrect. See bellow for directions on re-calibration.

NEVER leave the printer running unattended. (If something goes wrong, someone needs to be in the room to press the emergency stop)


The z-axis is the most critical part of a good print. If it's too high or too low the print will not work well or may even damage the machine.

To do manual tweeking of the z-axis, under Machine→Motherboard Preferences is the settings for stop-height above bed. If you increase this value the head will be lowered towards the table and if you decrease it'll lift the head. Don't ever adjust this by more than 0.4mm at a time to make sure you never drive the hot-end into the table.

If the print is not adhearing to the table or does not look fully filled as in there are spaces between the filaments, you need to lower the z-axis a little (Increase the value of the z-axis).

On the other end of things, if the head is either having troubles extruding the first layer or there is a lot of plastic pressing up around the nozzle to make little fins in the first layer, the head needs to be lifted some (decrease the value of the z-axis). Normally I'd adjust by 0.2mm at a time til it was printing nearly flat across the top.


The new hot-end installed mid-May no longer has any issue with going hotter than 235C (There is no PTFE). This does not mean you should ever pint hotter than that as ABS starts to put off toxic fumes above that temperature.

Normal ABS prints should be between 220-235C. The colour does make a difference; coloured filament tends to be higher temperature. I suggest 225 for most prints unless you're printing very fast where 230 or 235 is necessary.

For PLA, 180C is suggested as a starting point. Speed of prints comes into play as well and I've gone as high as 220C on very high speed prints on Andrew's printer.

tool/makerbot_thing-o-matic.txt · Last modified: 2015/12/12 14:31 by

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