Makibox Blog

February 2012

2022-02-29 21:39 by Michael Tsang

Awesomeness and the Downsides of Awesomeness

OK, so we just got slammed today with coverage from a few places. So far today is a bit of a write-off for progress, but was cool to see the general response. Still aiming to get a first print by the end of this week.

Thanks everyone!

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2022-02-28 21:42 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Hot End First Steps


Look, hot plastic action! The video has a demo of the time it takes to get it heated up and able to spit out PLA (around 30 seconds).

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2022-02-28 21:07 by Michael Tsang

Hot Plastic Action

Check out the Post over on for the full photo and video coverage of today’s exploits in the lab. End result, hot plastic coming out of an extruder nozzle that I can hold in my fingers and is less than an inch long.

Tomorrow is more of the same, make a rev 2 and then start working on the extruder drive system to move towards having the first print this week.

In other news, we have reached the funding threshold (and then some), so we will be continuing to gear up for production. We will ship out the first 100 within March if things continue to go smoothly, and then will work through any backlog of orders until we are shipping on demand.

Thanks everyone for their support and it is amazing to see the community coming together. Watch for more cool stuff coming up both on this project and on in general.

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2022-02-28 21:00 by Jonathan Buford

Hot Ends and Other Important Bits


Yes, that is my finger in that picture. The little wire thingy is a 0.5mm drill bit. Finally was able to get started on building the hot ends for the MakiBox. Got working on the new lathe and found that the frame had cracked so that everything was not held in alignment. So, four hours later, I had a replacement and started over where I was this afternoon. Hong Kong is pretty cool that way, you just run over to the store that sells machines and tell them the first one isn't working.

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2022-02-27 22:27 by Michael Tsang

Hot Ends and Other Bits

Posted up the results for the days labors. Although at least a good chunk of it was running back to the machine store and swapping the lathes out after finding a cracked main casing on the first one was making everything wobbly.

Head over to today’s post for pics and the video.

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2022-02-26 21:33 by Michael Tsang

Extruders, Lathes, and Getting some rest

Just wanted to post a short update, expect quite a lot to happen in the next few days. If it looks like we will not make the current goal, we will just adjust to allow for whatever the final orders are at this point. But, it does look likely that we can meet the goal.

I did get my lathe in and setup yesterday. I needed to take some time off today to get some rest and will be back in the lab tomorrow to do the final push for wrapping up the extruder drive and hot end by Tuesday.

It is really amazing seeing the community building here, and we will start putting together some more resources on the MakiBox site to continue that growth.

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2022-02-24 22:39 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Improved Z Axis


Before making a test plot with a pen, I needed to hook up the controller and flash it with firmware that is adjusted for the MakiBox drive parameters. After getting that done, the extruder was going to be next, but ended up deciding to revise the Z Axis before moving on. I already mentioned that we were going to do one final motion platform iteration with the new 4mm brass bearings and rods, but this is the first working application of those parts.

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2022-02-23 22:42 by Michael Tsang

Steady improvement and the next week.

Complete blog post.

Check out the post for the details, but the gist is that the new mechanism iteration was tested out on the Z Axis and it is rock solid and smooth.

Next up is a test plot with this current mechanism and the hotend and extruder drive build. We will finish up a first printing prototype before the end of the funding, and then make some final revisions before sending out the first shipments by the end of March.

It is really cool seeing this start to come together nice and solid. More updates to come over the next few days.

(Posted by Jon Buford originally at

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2022-02-20 22:44 by Michael Tsang

Marlin Rocks and The Germans are Winning!

So, we’ve confirmed 60% support for the project as of today thanks to Nils Hitze rallying the troops with 20 pieces in Germany! We are revising part of our order process to make larger categories of support easier, so he isn’t showing up currently in the supporter list.

On the other end of the project, I was able to get the new firmware loaded on the driver board and started to put the machine through some paces. The difference between the new (Marlin) and old (Sprinter) firmware is pretty dramatic. Some of it is also moving to a faster Arduino than before, but Marlin looks pretty slick. I’ll post up some video tomorrow, tonight I’ve got duties with Startup Monday here at BootHK as part of the StartupsHK community, so wasn’t able to do the plotting that I wanted before heading out of the lab today.

I’m going to start working on the extruder prototype tomorrow and share some more details about that.

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2022-02-18 22:48 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Table Movement and Next Steps

Here is the prototype print bed moving up and down along with the X & Y. I'm pretty happy with how it is working, but can see it will benefit from the same bearings upgrade as the rest. One cool thing to note is that since all 3 major axies have the same screw drive, it looks possible to do a lightweight 3D milling operation for foam and other materials easy to cut.

I'm heading to China tomorrow with the HackJam group and will visit the electronics area there, so I can pick up a few parts I need for wiring up the separate controller. Later, we are heading to the local Hackerspace, so will be a fun and interesting day.

I'll try to get the dedicated electronics wrapped up for this Sunday, so I can do some more test prints or other things to understand better what needs to be improved. Next week I will make the extruder and drive, and a friend of mine will be helping to wrap up the revisions to the mechanism so we can get the next (final) iteration prototyped in a week. This next one will be a pre-production unit, so should be pretty close to the one we will ship in March.

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2022-02-16 22:59 by Jonathan Buford

Z Axis and Other Happenings

Having a very small team for Makible makes it difficult to balance things sometimes. After focusing on some more general business things for the company and Social Media Week Hong Kong (I'm one of the founders for StartupsHK), I'm finally back in the lab and making good progress again.


I'll finish integrating the controller and the motors tomorrow and get some good video of it moving around in 3D space and seeing how artistic it can be with a pen.


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2022-02-15 23:07 by Michael Tsang

Finally! More Progress

Hi folks, we’ve got the Z axis built and will be wiring it up to the controller tomorrow. I’ve gotten a bit waylaid by general business stuff here the last few days, but things are back on track.

See the photos here.

The current plan is to finish hooking up the RAMPS board for testing tomorrow afternoon and at least demonstrate the general combined movements. I’ve also wrapped up the preliminary designs for the extruder and extruder drive which should prove to be a significant improvement to the Wade’s extruder and others that are currently on the market. Look for more details coming up soon on that.

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2022-02-10 23:13 by Jonathan Buford

Testing Smaller Rods and Bronze Bearings

I ended up putting together a quick test rig with the new bearings and rods. The results are quite promising.


These bearings are a lot tighter tolerance, but still very smooth movement. They are oil impregnated, so as there is movement, it creates a layer of lubricant of sorts. Another big benefit is that they are press fit, so no more set screws, and the alignment is much, much better. So the end assembly will be much easier for the kit form. Another benefit is that the pieces that they fit into can be significantly smaller, so that lowers the weight and material usage as well as potentially making the mechanism that much more compact.

So, all in all, quite cool, looking forward to seeing what the end result is using these in a machine.

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2022-02-10 15:56 by Michael Tsang

Bearing Testing Results

Created a testing rig for the new bearings and rods. See Testing Smaller Rods and Bronze Bearings

Summary – significantly tighter tolerance with a nice, smooth operation.

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2022-02-10 15:50 by Michael Tsang

Z Axis Progress, Globalization, and Why

I posted up a few short updates on 
MakiBox A6 Support is Global
MakiBox Prototype Progress and Next Iteration Parts

One question that just came up again, and came up previously is why we posted this project here and not on Kickstarter? Other than the bias that we created for this exact type of project, there are a few specific reasons: 

  • Kickstarter is a non-starter if you don’t have a US bank account to receive funds.
  • We prefer to use platforms that are open to anyone, regardless of where you bank or are located.
  • Makible connects up the manufacturing to the funding, making it more efficient and protects supporters from failed projects.
  • There have been many cases with Kickstarter projects that don’t ship what was promised, or it ships very, very late. Since Makible is handling the manufacturing and distribution, there is no need for a product innovator to handle these aspects until they have enough consistent need to build it up themselves. We evaluate each project to ensure that it is manufacturable and have existing resources for making and shipping items lined up. This reduces the lead time considerably already.
  • If something happens and the project is unable to ship, we guarantee that supporters will get their funds back. This is not possible with Kickstarter as the funds are already with the project innovator, so the funds may simply get used up without any return.

Ultimately, we think Makible can offer a better deal in the long run to innovators. This is especially true for ones just getting started. We want to foster an incubation like environment that takes care of the mundane aspects that benefit from larger volume or that may be outside of a typical designer’s or product developer’s expertise and allows them to focus on making cool new things.

Another aspect of this is where the MakiBox comes in. By developing new manufacturing processes that allow for lower volume break even points for products, more projects will become viable.

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2022-02-09 16:22 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Support is Global

With just a little over a week into the funding for the MakiBox A6, we've gotten 16 confirmed orders, and there are many more that are lined up watching the prototype progress. This is really fantastic so far, and what is very cool is how global the orders are so far.


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2022-02-09 16:02 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox Prototype Progress and Next Iteration Parts

The Z axis is starting to come together. I botched up one of the parts when making it, so I'm building up a small collection of pretty and useless pieces of plastic.


What you see here is the Z Axis drive part. I'll put in the bearing shaft on the other side, and should have a usable table at that point. After that, I'll wire up the separate electronics for this one, and try the new firmware out.

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2022-02-07 16:41 by Michael Tsang

Steady Progress

Still getting more developments on the prototype coming along. The last two days have been a mix of helping out users and getting parts made for prototyping. Mondays and Tuesdays are usually a mix of getting work done and having to host the Startup Monday Meetup and HackJam. We have a really great community growing here in HK.

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2022-02-05 16:45 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Update - XY Mechanism Iteration

When I got the current design of the XY mechanism together, I noticed that there was a little bit of stuttering going on with the right hand side of the bearings for the Y axis movement. It is not entirely unexpected, but I was hoping that the mechanism would be small enough and rigid enough to not run into this. 

I've come up with a few options of the next iteration I will be doing after wrapping up this current prototype, and already made a test change on the existing prototype to test out one of them: 

1. Remove the bearing on the non-driven end and support it with a rod to take the load without much friction:

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2022-02-05 16:40 by Jonathan Buford

Future of Manufacturing - Combining 3D Printing with CNC Finishing

Aside from developing the MakiBox, we are working on new processes to create a new breed of manufacturing. The time when tooling up something to make thousands of copies of the same exact design is coming to an end, and it is time to start figuring out new ways to make things so that products benefit from the same rapid evolution of software. Many people focus on the mass customization aspect of this type of technology, however, that doesn't take into consideration that there will always be a need for fairly standard stuff in our lives.


One potential direction is to combine additive and subtractive processes to create very finished, but tooless production.

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2022-02-05 16:32 by Michael Tsang

Prototype Update and Some R&D; Results

So, I’ve spent some of the time over the last couple of days doing some R&D, and not doing too much with moving the prototype ahead directly. After putting the XY mechanism together, I noticed that there was some stuttering going on, which is fixable, but would be good to have a plan for how to fix it.

See my post here for more details:

I also took a little bit of time to work on a side research that potentially will be used for MakiBox production. Basically, I’m looking at what the output is like if you combine both 3D printing with CNC machining. Some interesting results:

This next week will be wrapping up the first pass at the Z Axis and the Extruder. Should be interesting!

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2022-02-03 17:36 by Michael Tsang

MakiBox FAQ

I just started an FAQ on It will be continually updated as new things come up, so keep an eye out

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2022-02-02 17:40 by Jonathan Buford

A Little Background on the MakiBox - Part 1 The Pain

At some point I'll have to explain the inspiration for doing the work on making the MakiBox design, so might as well do it now.

Mid 2011, a group of us from the HackJam meetup decided to buy a RepRap kit. It came in a few boxes with no concise instructions and literally was a box of parts. I actually stayed out of doing a lot of the assembly, just keeping an eye on the progress and helping the guys through parts that they had trouble with, and after a month of long weekly evening working sessions, we had a printer that *should* have worked.


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2022-02-02 17:24 by Michael Tsang

Some days are just going to be slower than I want. :)

Ended up laid up for a bit today recovering from a brief bout of something I ate not agreeing with me.

But, net positive result is that I did have a spark of inspiration for refining the mechanism to make it more simple and precise. More details when I’ve got a rough prototype sorted.

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2022-02-01 17:47 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 Updated XY Mechanism


This shows the XY axies working together to move the print head platform around. Pretty good results so far, will keep adding more parts to the assembly. 

Next is the Z Axis tomorrow. If it goes smoothly, I’ll get that together in the day, and then on to the extruder.

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2022-02-01 17:20 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 HackJam Demo and Discussion

This is the first public demo of the prototype that is coming together with some good questions and discussion at the end. Look forward to seeing more progress each day. Original update pulled from below:

First off, I’m really encouraged by the response so far. In one day already 7% there to the goal. We will have updated pictures and video of the progress every day, so stay tuned.

Last night I gave an early demo at HackJam and talked through questions. The video is around 14 minutes, but covers a lot of interesting things.

Trying to wrap up the machining of the XY components today and then we can start drawing some pretty pictures to show off how well it works.

Thanks for @penguinsix for the excellent camera work.

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2022-02-01 17:03 by Jonathan Buford

MakiBox A6 - The Desktop $300 3D Printer is Live for Funding on!

We've got the project up for funding on Look forward to many updates in the coming days. Exciting times ahead!


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