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This is a retractable Z-Probe.
With a Z-Probe your Makerbot is able to "auto home" not only X & Y but also the Z axis. This is done by mounting the endstop on your Makerbot in a way it senses the build platform directly (and nearby the real nozzle).
In order to get out of the way during printing, the sense-pin is retractable.
Although this is a working thing, especially the software changes are still beta. Both, firmware and ReplicatorG/host software, need to be updated. The extended versions are available as source code on GitHub.
For more information (and a sample video), see
The design is for use with a Futaba servo S148. That's the servo I found in my junk box. I guess each servo has a different size. So the design might be more a draft for your own design. I plan to try the same thing with a smaller (and cheaper) "micro servo" in the future. I hope I'll find the time to create a parametric OpenSCAD design until then.
Since it's still a prototype, the servo is currently glued to the base plate with some hot glue.
Both, the new extruder firmware as well as the extended ReplicatorG host software, are available on GitHub. I forked both projects from Makerbot:
This is all still in a very early stage, both hardware and software.
Z-Probe by Zaggo is licensed under the Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike license.
So what's this mean?
We're sure Zaggo would love to see what you've printed - take a photo and share it on Thingiverse as a Make.
To post a Make simply visit this Thing again and click I Made One to start uploading your photo. You can also download the Thingiverse Mobile app (available via Google Play and Apple App Store) to take a photo and upload your Make right from the app!