(Unofficial) Replicator XL

by JohnA, published

(Unofficial) Replicator XL by JohnA Oct 28, 2012



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All the Rostock printers made me want to print some taller files - here’s your chance.

Just for a bit of history on MakerBot Z-axis print heights:

  • Cupcake CNC: 100mm
  • Thing-O-Matic: 120mm
  • Replicator: 150mm
  • Replicator 2: 155mm

And to check in on some competitors:

  • Printrbot Plus: 203mm
  • Ultimaker: 220mm
  • Series 1: 230mm

With the swapping of just 6 pieces*, a Replicator 1 can be made into the (Unofficial) Replicator XL - with a Z-axis build area of 250mm. The only pieces needed are 4 new wood panels and 2 smooth rods.

How much bigger is it? The Replicator 1 build volume is 300 cubic inches. The Replicator 2 is 410 cubic inches. (Unofficial) Replicator XL? 500 cubic inches (err...498 I think).

I also figured if I was in there editing files, I might as well make it look a little more like the Replicator 2, so all of the ‘window’ shapes have been changed to reflect the ‘new look.’

Enough talk, let’s get to the photos!



The smooth rods I used are: http://www.mcmaster.com/#6459K112 (8mm x 400mm)

Big thanks to Bruce Wattendorf (of Giant Ultimaker fame) for helping with my meager DXF editing skills. Thanks also to Dan and Jetty for helping after I spent hours messing with broken firmware.


Important Notes:

A few more photos and assembly notes here now: http://www.abella.net/?p=755 - This isn’t a hard process, but it’s also not a 1 hour job . I had to lengthen at least a dozen wires (stepper power / fan power / extruder heaters) by a few inches. The thermocouple, HBP, and endstop wires on mine were all long enough.
- The case design DXF files on Thingiverse for the Replicator (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18813) are WRONG. These are not the production files - and it messed me up a bit. The mightyboard power / usb / reset button location has moved, requiring some dremel adjustments. On the files I uploaded I think I’ve resolved it, but haven’t tested it yet. You might have to dremel these sections a little still. If you’re thinking about using them for the basis for a custom case mod, let me know and I can probably help.
- I called MakerBot Support to get the Replicator assembly documentation that we were told they were close to releasing in January: Turns out it doesn’t exist / can’t be shared. So take good notes / pics when you take it apart, as there are no directions on how to assemble it.
- If you’re getting the case cut on your own, it’s 5.5mm plywood - birch I think.
- Warning: This will not work with the MBI firmware 5.5 - and maybe not with 6.1 either. There’s a problem with them hardcoding the axes length. You can change your .xml files all day long, but it won’t ever work. It might work on 5.0, maybe? - Edit! Forgot to mention - the brass nut for the Z-threaded rod needs to be flipped from on top of the platform to below it, or the platform won't go high enough. It fits on the bottom, check my flickr photos. - Edit 2: Also worth mentioning: The Mightyboard is super sensitive to being wired up wrong, resulting in pops, sparks, flames, and various other ways to kill it. Take photos of the wires before you change them, and triple check before you turn power back on! You've been warned. - Edit 3?: - I used Sailfish for the firmware, works great! - More Notes: - You'll need to edit your start and end.gcode files to change the Z to 250 from 150. (The G1 line and G0 line, respectively) - You'll also need to move your Z-endstop to the slots instead of the holes, and re-adjust it to get the platform to go high enough. - Revisions: there's apparently an earlier revision of the Replicator that doesn't require splicing any wires. I don't know anything about when / what serial numbers that changed at. At least two people have done this without changing any wires. Figured it was worth mentioning.

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would it be possible to use a replicator 2 as a starting point? I recently acquired a damaged printer that would be perfect for this!

is this interchangeable with the flashforge creator setup...i have a gstar printer which seems to be a rip of makerbot,or flashforge. wanted to use this for it

Hi JohnA, thanks for posting I am very new to 3D printing, do you have any youtube links of your working XL mod? Many thanks ...

WOW I cant get anything that big to print without warping or cracks, how did you do it, What material and settings?

It's ABS, printed on a heated bed with the sides / top of the bot all enclosed.

could you post also the bottom and upper panels?

I used my stock top and bottom panels - but you could get the cut files for them from: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18813http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

The MakerBot Replicator

Ever heard of anyone making it out of aluminium for a Rep2 look?
I guess the square holes are the challenges, though there are square drilling bits...

This is great... I'm very tempted to try this out... though... if Makerbot were to offer it as an official package in their shop, that'd be even better! Cause I don't look forward to lengthening/swapping leads. Better to get a complete set that I know will work.

Can't wait to get these pieces laser cut.. Going for matte black acrylic. :P

Thanks for this. Also, that avatar pic is a thing of beauty. Much respect.

Have you cut and tested a new set of panels with the updated positions for the USB/Power/Reset button? I'm eager to give this a shot.

I haven't, but I took measurements from mine and made adjustments.  If it doesn't fit, I'm guessing it's off by a millimeter one way or the other.   Less to dremel than I had on mine.  

Got it built up last night. Works like a charm, and the new holes were spaced and had enough room to make everything fit. Will "I made this" tonight/tomorrow once I clean up the build a bit.

Ha, been there before. We have a Ultimaker that had the Z-axis lengthened to our max laser size (96cm). We did not stop to re-dimension the smooth rods. That was a mistake, all prints got a distinct 3mm wobble, caused in part by the leadscrew skewing the built platform a little, but also because the 12mm was totally inadequate for the size they had to span. From experience with a MantisCNC: 8mm is too small to span 300mm, let alone 400mm. Your platform will probably move with the slightest touch.
What is the pitch of your leadscrew? With any bad luck, you can deduce that from your prints.

Stock rods on a Replicator are 300mm already this expands them to 400mm. Tha acutal movement is only 250mm. Judging by the print picture posted looks like it worked perfect. :)

What firmware did you end up going with to get it to work? I just put together an XL on Friday and haven't tried to push it to its max height yet. 

I used Sailfish - worked without incident! 

I modded a printrbot Jr in the same way
My replicator may need to do this, Z axis is the dimension to increase!!!
well done!

Now if somebody made easily printable plastic end brackets and the extruder carriage. Stock STLs are difficult at best to print.

Very nice. :) Any idea where to get these cut or will you/are you offering these cut? Would love to get this done, thinking about expanding the bot since I bought it.

I got mine from Grand Laser ( http://www.grandlaser.com/http://www.grandlaser.com/ ) and I've already gone over the file with Angus Hines ( http://angushines.comhttp://angushines.com) as well. Both do great work. 

Good to know of a helpful service.  I have a laser cutter at my disposal (to rent by the hour), but it's not large enough to handle these files.  It could cut out an original CupCake for sure, but not much larger.