by carmiac, published
The venerable Cupcake is MakerBot Industries first 3D printer. Over the years a huge number of upgrades for it have been designed and posted on Thingiverse and around the web. This is a collection of the best and most important upgrades for your Cupcake to improve its performance and keep it running well.
Unless otherwise noted, I didn't come up with any of these upgrades . I'm just compiling them into one place.
I need your help! I don't own a Cupcake, so I created this list from perusing Thingiverse and the MBI forums. There are great upgrades out there that are missing because I don't know about them, and some of these might not be the best choice because I can't test them. Help out by letting me know what I am missing or should change
Looking for Thing-O-Matic upgrades? Check out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6443
5/18/2011 - Initial Release
5/26/2011 - Mendel style outriggers and typos.
6/29/2011 - Added alternate Z wobble arrestor, Z Knob, and Z-Rider
The part of your extruder that pushes the plastic
1) The Brutstruder is the classic Cupcake upgrade drive. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4036
2) Turn your Brutstruder into a stepper extruder with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6112
3) Make a MK5-style drive that fits your MK3/4 hot end with: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7564
MK5-Style Stepper Extruder
If you have a MK5 style filament drive, do a stepper upgrade. It will improve your print quality, make it easier to tune for different plastics and provide a major fix to the "dead extruder motor" problem.
Instructions for using a stepstruder with Gen 3 electronics can be found at: http://wiki.makerbot.com/stepstruder-mk6-with-gen3
You have three major options:
1) A MK6 from Makerbot Industries. Get the upgrade kit if you have a MK5. http://store.makerbot.com/toolheads/stepstruder.html
2) A Stepper Plastruder from MakerGear. http://www.makergear.com/products/plastruder
3) Print your own MK5 adapter plate and gears using http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5795 and instructions at http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5797
The hot end of the extruder can be a dangerous place. Lets make it safer.
1) Protect the Thermocouple - softsolder.com/2011/02/06/thing-o-matic-mk5-extruder-protecting-the-thermocouple/
X and Y Axes
Back and Forth, Side to Side
1) Make it easy to remove your XY assembly for upgrades and expermentation with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4765
2) Make your X rods easier to mount with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6884
3) Auto-home your X and Y axes with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6200
4) Easily tension your X axis with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5899
5) Replace your entire XY assembly to make it lighter, faster, smoother and lower with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4213
6)Switch to Mendel-style X and Y outriggers to make it faster and smoother with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4239 and http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3697
Up and Down, with maybe a bit of wibbly-wobbly
1) Oil the rods automatically with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4774
2) Keep you belt from slipping with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4729
3) Double the height you can print with extenders! http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4716
4) Completely replace your Z axis to make it stabler, faster and accept MK5-style extruder with a Z rider. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7954 or http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5586
5) Give yourself an easier time cranking it with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5960 or http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3234
6) Build a Z-probe to add autohoming like a ToM. http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5905
7) Get rid of some of the wibbly-wobbly with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2151 or http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3091
Heated Build Platform
The heated build platform is simpler than the ABP and is considered by many the way to go if you want simple raftless printing and thin layers.
1) Make leveling the platform easier with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6558
Automated Build Platform
The ABP is a cool piece of technology that no other 3D printer has, but it can be a bit finicky.
1) Replace the belt with a less warpy one from http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5648
Ah, laser cut plywood... Is there anything you can't do?
1) Give your bot some feet to reduce noise with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2043 or http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1579
2) Upgrade your endstop triggers with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1484
3) Replace a broken bearing bracket with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6853
4) Replace your whole chassis (or any part of it) with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3285
Electronics and Wiring
1) Give your extruder controller and relay board a nice home with http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6780
2) Connectorize your print heads and X-axis motor. I haven't made a writeup of this yet but all of the wires, including the thermocouple, going to the extruder and the XY assembly should have inline connectors put in them to make maintenance and upgrades easier.
3) Controlling static buildup is very important to long builds or in dry climates. This writeup is for the ToM, but much of it will apply to the Cupcake as well. http://softsolder.com/2011/01/09/thing-o-matic-mk5-extruder-static-control/