A Little Background on the MakiBox - Part 1 The Pain

2022-02-02 17:40 by Jonathan Buford (comments: 0)

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.

But, it ended up there was some problems with the driver electronics. The Arduino Mega seems to have been fritzy, and then the connections to the driver shield were confusing to even the competent engineers within the group. I was curious to see it working and to use it, but there were more pressing projects for me, so I let it move along at its own pace.

The local guy that sold us the kit even came by and got it working with his laptop:

Then around October, the Phaser Tape project came up: 


I had a good use for a RepRap and I wanted it to work. What followed were three days of sorting out software, tearing it down and rebuilding it where some small assembly detail was overlooked, and just generally creating a lot of crappy prints.

I realized that in a climate like Hong Kong, where we run the AC for half the year, and have cold buildings for about 2 months of the year, getting consistent prints would be tough, especially with ABS. I attempted to build a hot box around the printer, but that was awkward at best and there were many random failures that took time away from actually printing. That was around early November. 

I decided that I needed a MakiBox. A printer that was a reasonable size that consistently printed and cost a fair price. If it came as a kit, it needed to be assemblable in a single afternoon. The plastic for printing had to be fed by an inbuilt spooling mechanism, as the RepRap way of leaving the spooling of printing material was adhoc at best. And, preferably, I wanted something that you could actually transport without too much trauma. 

OK, that at least sets up my motivation for putting time into doing the design from a personal motivation. I'll leave the rest for another post. 

Support the MakiBox project by funding it on Makible.com.

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