by johnthomasfoster, published

Fosterbot by johnthomasfoster May 28, 2012

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Thing-O-Matic #5063, Makerbot. A robot barely alive.

Gentlemen, we can rebuild him.
We have the technology.
We have the capability to build the world's first Fosterbot. Thing-o-Matic #5063 will be that Fosterbot. Better than it was before. Better, stronger, faster.


For the STL files: Print in ABS, at least for the X-stage, if you are using a heated build platform. Ounce of prevention and all that.

Pertinent info for the laser-cut panels: These are formatted assuming a 24" x 48" sheet of 1/4" acrylic. In the same way a f%&king 2x4 is not really 2" x 4", acrylic sheet that is nominally 1/4" thick is typically 5.5mm in thickness. The interlocking features of the body panels are dimensioned for a sheet thickness of 5.5mm +/- 0.25mm. Kerf from the laser cutting process may add an additional 0.1mm to that. The formatting for the lines in the .dxf file is as follows: Inside cuts in black, outside cuts in red.

Any purchased parts are referenced using McMaster-Carr part numbers, all of which have associated mechanical drawings and CAD files on their respective McMaster-Carr online catalog pages, in the event you would like to source material from elsewhere. I'm not telling you where to buy you nuts, but those guys do carry everything. They're like the ACME corporation from Looney Tunes.

While most of the machined parts can be made using a drill press and a bandsaw if you are patient and have a steady hand, the belt brackets will require a work-around if you do not have a milling machine.

For those of you feeling constrained by your build volume ever since the Replicator was released, these modifications increased my build envelope dimensions to 150mm on the x-axis, 185mm on the y-axis, and 132mm on the z-axis. Also, between the linear bearing upgrade, the more rigid x-, y-, and z-stages, and Jetty's Accelerated Firmware v3.4, I've been printing at 100mm/s in ABS, and 150mm/s in PLA (and climbing). Plus, she looks so damn sexy.

I had the panels laser-cut by NextFab Studio in Philadelphia (look them up, they're awesome). Total cost was under $220, including the cost of acrylic sheeting. I'm sure they can arrange shipping if you are not in the Philadelphia area. Ponoko quoted me at $450, so this is definitely the price to beat. I ordered everything from McMaster, and all told this upgrade cost ~$500. If you shop around, you can probably shave a good chunk off of the that.

additional thoughts:

If you're making something from laser-cut acrylic, you need to get some Weld-On acrylic cement. This stuff is awesome, but it is permanent. So cement all of the body panels together without worry, but DO NOT CEMENT THE BOTTOM PANEL. If your power supply or Y-axis stepper die, you won't be able to replace them. More importantly, if you keep a desk lamp above your bot like I do, the cavity below the build platform will quickly fill up with dead bugs.

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Can i like this again ;-) i really really like it maybe i will convert mine 

I've made some improvements on this design in the past few months that I haven't gotten around to posting yet (not quite Fosterbot Beta - more like revision A03 at this point) so if you want any input, let me know.  One really easy thing I've done to eke slightly higher XY resolution out of my bot is buying two of part # S10T08M016S0505 from Stock Drive Products/Sterling Instruments.  It's a drop-in replacement pulley for the X- and Y- stepper motors on the T-O-M and they run about $10 each.  The stock T-O-M pulleys have a pitch diameter of ~10.8mm, and these are 9.60mm.  Your steps/mm goes up from ~47 to ~53, so you get slightly better positioning accuracy for $20.

This looks awesome, thanks for sharing this great design!

Did you update the files since this post? I'm interested in rebuilding my thing-o-matic into a fosterbot, so if you have any updates not uploaded yet, could you please share them? That would be much appreciated!

i have been looking at the build plans and it seems a epic build ;-) so not now maybe later. but thnx for the extra info

A 2x4 is not that size when planned as it starts at that size then has 3mm taken off each side, thus you start with 100x50mm for a sawn bit of timber, but end up with 94x44mm when planned.

Just if anyone was wondering, I'll go back in my box now... :-)

What a brilliant way to resurrect a bot! It's very RoboCop.