Thursday, March 29 2012
I'd been waiting all week for it to arrive and today it finally did: the extruder controller for my Makerbot, the one thing that was keeping me from, well, making things. Today it finally arrived, and I installed it into my 'bot without difficulty. After simple calibrations that somehow took hours, I was able to initiate my first print. But I wasn't far into the print before it broke loose of the platform and the extruder sprayed coils of plastic over it in an incoherent afro. Clearly a Makerbot is the sort of thing that, like a gold dredging barge on the Bering Sea, must be carefully dialed in before it can do its work successfully. Still, even when it's just making useless balls of malignant polystyrene, the Makerbot is a joy to watch. It's a like a mini-carnival of blinking lights and 80s-style arcade noises (generated as a side effect by the rapidly-activating stepper motors). Knowing what burning (if not molten) polystyrene smells like, I expected the Makerbot to be smellier when in operation than it actually is. The hot plastic has a smell, but it's not even at the level where I feel the need to open the window.
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