Thing-O-Matic Mania!

In a massively generous act, a friend's employer gave me a mostly assembled Thing-O-Matic 3D printer back in December!

Purchased as a kit, he had got it about 90% of the way there. Everything was assembled, but I had to clean up some of the electronics, adjust the belts, and troubleshoot what ended up being a bad motherboard. MakerBot was very helpful in testing the hardware for me and identifying the bad motherboard and arranging for me to replace it.

I started by printing a variety of test objects to get the belts properly tensioned.

I finally got it dialed-in enough to print a filament spool holder so I did not have a big loose spool of filament feeding the printer.

The filament spool holder and guide works wonderfully.

The tapered pocket coin-op model is fun to print and hand out to people to show them the power of 3D printing.

Once I had the Thing-o-Matic printing well under firmware 3.5 I upgraded to the Sailfish firmware. I tested accelerated printing using a great second century Indian lion model.

The silicon peg on my son's Tommee Tippee bib tore. I printed a replacement that I designed using AutoDesk's 123D Design online application. The model was a featured design.

The holder for the louvered blinds on my back door broke. One lost a peg, the other was completely broken. I used the calipers to take measurements. Then I used SketchUp to build a model and iterate on it until I had a good replacement.

Now the blinds can be secured to the door.

Finally, I let third and fifth graders know about the Minecraft server, where they can build and have a stl model generated. I told them I would print their designs. There were a few students who took me up on the offer.

It has been a very interesting learning process getting the printer up and running. It is exciting to be part of this new technology and makers revolution.


eried said…
Hey Josh, have you tried the last Sailfish firmware? (I have a TOM MK6 3 mm)

Mine still has an older one 3.2 or so, and I tested one from September last year without good results, so I was a little away from the firmware.
Josh Burker said…
Yes, after getting everything up and running and dialed in under firmware 3.5, I updated to Sailfish. What a remarkable difference it makes: better prints, quieter printer. I don't print accelerated because I find the ToM gets a little sloppy if I print at say 50 mm/s, but at 30 mm/s it is beautiful. I say go for it. Follow the directions to a T and you will be amazed at the new life your ToM has!