Case/Parts for Gen4 Interface Kit

by kitlaan, published

Case/Parts for Gen4 Interface Kit by kitlaan Mar 8, 2013
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Updated part info and replica (printable) original case for self-supplying the parts for the MakerBot Gen4 Interface Kit.


Since my ToM pre-dates the G4IK, I never thought I would want one. But my workflow for printing from the SD card has become increasingly tiresome (especially with Sailfish), so now I want one! Sadly, there's no kit available, so it's time to DIY!

First, order a PCB from batchpcb (pcb#79131, thanks to TheMakerGuy's thing:18416). (It's fully possible to protoboard or hand wire, but batchpcb provides a great service.)

[2013-07-03] Since thing:18416 is gone, bobc has graciously put up thing:110911 as a replacement.

Here are the part numbers and part cost (as of 2013-02-24) from Mouser:

  • 1x 16x4 character LCD (668-NC-S16400XFGSAY; $16.09/ea. There may be other NMTC equivalents for cheaper, but they may not be the right dimensions.)
  • 9x B3F 12x12mm std tactile switch (653-B3F-4055; $0.375/ea).
  • 9x B3F switch keycap, grey (653-B32-1300; $0.25/ea). There are more colors; check the other 13xx parts.
  • 2x 20-pin IDC socket, 3M (517-8920; $1.03/ea).
  • 1x 20-pin IDC header, 3M (517-30320-6002; $0.57/ea)
  • 3ft 20-pin ribbon cable (shielded/rounded: 517-3659/20FT; $1.47/ft. Basic: 517-3365/20FT; $0.38/ft).
  • 2x 5v LED, red (696-SSLLX5093HD-5V; $0.27/ea).
  • 2x 5v LED, green (696-SSLLX5093GD-5V; $0.25/ea).
  • 4x resistor, 1kOhm (291-1K-RC; $0.054/ea).
  • 9x resistor, 10kOhm (291-10K-RC; $0.054/ea).
  • 1x trimpot, 10k 1/4"sq (72-T70YE-10K; $0.80/ea).
  • 2x 8-pin, 8" .100 cable (538-28100-0335; $0.25/ea). two, to make 16-pins!
    Feel free to order larger quantities to "save" on cost; there's bound to be things you can do with 50 resistors, extra buttons, or wire!

Hardware parts (from your parts bin, local hardware store, part supplier, amazon, etc):

  • 4x M3 x 16mm socket cap bolt
  • 4x M3 x 22mm socket cap bolt
  • 8x M3 nut
  • 4x M2 x 16mm socket cap bolt
  • 4x M2 nut

While you're waiting for shipping & delivery, print the case.

  • The case is designed in OpenSCAD (polygons imported from the original DXF). I've added built-in spacers and hex cutouts (which probably don't save plastic overall, but looks cool).
  • Each part is split into halves (to fit a ToM build), with an extra set of mirrored side STLs. The way the parts have been halved, glue/acetone/cement may not be necessary to keep things together.
  • The front has support pieces built-in so the M3 bolt head is recessed; just snap them out.
  • Otherwise, construction is as per the instructions on makerbot's thingomatic PDF archive page.


  • You may want to wait until the parts arrive to verify that all the bolt holes fit (especially the LCD).
  • The left-most (X-) button may be tight against the case front; you may need to shave a few microns off the left side of the hole.
  • Since plastic is a good source of static... be careful with the LCD -- there's warnings everywhere about static shock damage.

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print our "switch keycap" LOL

Excellent work! With BatchPCB now closed, would you be able to release the Gerbers so we can use another PCB fab house (like OSHPark)?

Aww. And it looks like TheMakerGuy's gerber file isn't available anymore either; the thing has vanished.

BatchPCB closed?! Missed that one.

I have a copy of Makerguy's gerbers, plus a Kicad version of the project. I will post a new thing.