Aluminum HBP Arms For The Replicator!

by bottleworks, published

Aluminum HBP Arms For The Replicator! by bottleworks Dec 27, 2012


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Upgrade your arms!
Have you been having issues with your MakerBot Replicator HBP arms warp and sag? The Replicator is a Revolutionary 3D printer pushing the limits of small scale 3D printing. As people reach new advances in desktop 3D printing, stability and consistency are critical. The original HBP arms are made of ABS plastic. Unfortunately, when the plastic arms are exposed to the heat generated by the HBP, they warp, sag, and otherwise move. This warping and sagging make it incredibly difficult to have a consistently level HBP. As a result, constant tweaks and adjustments are required. Another issue with the arms is the low mass. During high speed printing, the original, low mass arms, lightly vibrate. These vibrations contribute to further distort the object being printed.
Virtually eliminate these issues by upgrading to custom CNC milled aluminum HBP arms. These replacement arms are made out of a single solid piece of 6061 aluminum.

  • The arms are designed to replace the original plastic arms with no other modifications.
  • Additional mass. Fully assembled weight of 931.5 grams. The added mass reduces harmonics and vibration.
  • No more constant adjustments due to unwanted arm movement.
  • The upper bearing retainers help block loose items from falling behind the platform and getting lost.
    You can find out more Information on the aluminum arms @ http://www.bctechnologicalsolutions.com/replicatorarms
    Notice some grinding marks? Good catch! The arms photographed are a prototype set. Those grinding marks were from last minute modifications due to clearance issues. ALL production arms will have NO grinding marks - only clean, milled surfaces.


I printed these out at 120mm/sec (Thanks to Sailfish!).
ABS Plastic
15% Infill/Octagon Pattern.
.27mm layer height.
I printed with full support, but with NO raft.
I've added a revised STL for all arms shipped 3/18/13 and later that are being installed in a Replicator 1. The older arms used different lower bearing retainers.

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Received the arms and new HBP in about 4 weeks, as promised. They are GREAT quality. Installed in about 90 minutes. I'd give the instructions 4 of 5 stars; more pictures would have helped, but I'd really have loved a YouTube video. We were able to figured it out pretty easily, though. HUGE improvement over the old plastic arms, one of which was definitely constanty sagging. The increase in precision towards the edges of the build plate was immediately noticable.

I placed my order on April 16 and I have not received my items yet. I have messaged you through your website and through thingiverse and have received no response. What is the status of my order. I have an update as of May 20th that a shipping label was printed but the label shows it has not been scanned or picked up. Sorry for posting on here but I would like a little clarification on what the status of my order is. Please give me a call 832-224-8844 or email me at [email protected]

Hello. I have received no emails from you. I did get a Thingiverse message in which I replied to the email address given in the message. You can contact me at: (support) or (sales ) at bctechnologicalsolutions dot comm.

Will you release an STL or part file for the arms?

If you need a design file for the arms, use the design files provided by MBI in Thing 18813 (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:18813)http://www.thingiverse.com/thi.... There you will find all the design files for the Replicator 1. And the arms are the same for the Rep 1, Rep 2, and Rep 2X. You can start with those files and then mod them however you want.

The MakerBot Replicator

Hey Bottleworks, do you have anymore of those aluminum arms for the replicator 1 available for sale? Thanks.

Some aluminum bar stock was just dropped off an hour ago.... I should have some available again very shortly.

Been trying to locate where to buy these, link doesnt work for me. Sent you a message also.

That's Great! I look forward to hearing more. Thanks.

I now have some in stock and available for shipment.

I can't order on your site currently. Paypal says it is an error in your site?

This style arm for the replicator 1 is no longer available. I will be adapting the new style arms designed for the replicator 2/2X to fit the replicator 1. I'll make a post when that is available.

Will you be posting a new Thing, or updating this one? I mean I'm interested in hearing about when the new one is ready, any way to be notified? Hmm.

Ah! I'll follow you.

I have good news on this. 50 more sets are on their way for the replicator 1. Couple more weeks....

I'll update this "thing". The excess time in getting them adapted to the Replicator 1 simply because my Replicator 1 is the work horse for printing the plastic parts for these arms. It's been dedicated to printing all the parts in mass quantities. So, I'm waiting on free Rep1 time to adapt them.

I noticed on mine, the holes for the side screws on the main platform did not line up right. I was able to get them to seat in the end. The holes were off by about a 1/32" I think. I also noticed some resistance with the up down movement. A few items I have printed so far now have what seems to be "Z-Wobble". I am going to print the 20mm cal cube and see what it looks like.

I've been told that the platform wood dimensions changed slightly during Replicator 1 production which has caused the holes to be slightly off. If you have resistance in the bearings, it's typically caused by damage when removing the bearings. They are easily damaged. Z wobble can only be caused by a couple things. Make sure the wood is ---absolutely--- seated in the slots. Loosen the bottom and top Z rod adjustments. Jog the z axis up and down (via control panel), then re-tighten the rod adjustments. If this doesn't solve you z wobble, you may have slightly bent Z rods.

I will try this, it is weird since I never had the issue, my only issue I ever had was the level issue.

I fixed it, for some reason one of the bottom alignment mounts for the rods did not tighten enough so it was moving around and causing the wobble effect. Works great now. I would suggest people use little longer screws on the sides of the base since the Aluminum is thicker than the original abs arms. I maybe got a few turns on the nuts.

Just a public service reminder


Not that I did that or anything. Really, I didn't. (But I almost did ;) )

I installed my arms on the printers but am running into an issue with resistance on the linear bearing shafts. it seems that after installing the bearings that they are slightly off and solutions on how to resolve this as the plastform no longer slides fluid up and down on the shafts. there is some resistance even with the bearing and shafts being properly greased.

Send me an email and I can help you resolve this. These comment forums don't work well for trouble shooting.

Please just give me a call on our store phone that was we can resolve this as all of our printers are down right now and Im trying to get the conversions installed correctly.

Call me at 832-224-8844

Any plans on making these arms for the Rep2?

OMG!!! This has been, by far, the best upgrade I've made to my printer!!! I installed them on Friday and have been printing all weekend. I keep checking the build level and it's perfect. I haven't had to touch it. Also the prints are better.

Sometimes the printer prints a part of a section, then comes back to finish that section. I could always tell where that happened in the finished print. Not anymore. That was an unexpected benefit.

I can't thank you enough for making these things. Wow! This is a "must have" upgrade. Makerbot should put aluminum arms on all their new printers. This is an unbelievable improvement.

I'm sorry for being so verbose here, but this is the kind of stability improvement that takes 3D printing one giant step closer to having one of these in every home. I can't see how one could make a reliable/repeatable printer without these.

That's great to hear. I'm glad you like them. If you have time, be sure to post a photo of your upgraded bot under the "made" section of this page. Thanks!

What does it entail to install these? How far do you have to rip the bot apart to get them on there?

I would plan for 1 to 2 hours to upgrade the machine. The arms come with step by step instructions for the replicator 1...In full color. It's not hard to do.

I've added a revised STL for all arms shipped 3/18/13 and later that are being installed in a Replicator 1.

Got mine in today! Thanks Bottleworks! Great build quality and not really too difficult to rebuild. All in all, it took me about 2 and a half hours from start to finish, taking a few breaks in between. The worst part was having to sand down the rear wood on the platform to fit the arms, but the instructions mentioned there would be a good chance I would have to.

Interesting that you had to sand the the back wood part... Which shipment were you in? I'm trying to figure out if there is a discrepancy that I missed. The newest revision shouldn't need any sanding.

It was the new revision, was listed as Replicator 2X capable. It didn't require much work really.

I had to sand every bit of wood: the back wood was so swollen that it had actually split down the middle layers and bowed in the middle. The tray was also a little stubborn but nowhere near as swollen.

Pretty sure that I have one of the first Replicators MBI shipped, too.

Have my arms shipped yet you said they would ship on the 15 and now its the 20th.

I'm sorry, there was never a ship date of the 15th. A group of 24 shipped this week. There'll be the final group shipped next week. If you did not receive a shipping notification from PayPal, you are likely in the second group. The arms are shipped in the order in which they were purchased.

I suspect your the person who ordered 3 set, correct? Your sets shipped this week.

Yes sir do you have a tracking number

Good. You should get them in a couple days.

Your HBP aluminum looks very thick. What is the thickness? Thanks

They are less wide at .75". The height is aprox the same as the OEM arms.

I mean to ask you about the thickness on the HBP plate, not the arm. Sorry I have confuse you. Thanks

That is a standard issue MBI HBP plate.

I've been using my new Arms over the last few days and they really are a worthy upgrade.Thanks bottleworks! So far, I've noticed that the Build plate leveling is staying consistent and print plate vibration seems really minimized. Thanks for making this happen.

I finally got around to installing my aluminum arms today. It took a bit longer than I expected, but the results were instantly noticeable when I started leveling the glass HBP. It really is rock solid, and I was able to get the HBP leveled much more quickly. I have the printer knocking out a guardian squirrel at 8 microns at 120mms (Yay for Sailfish!) and the exterior quality of the print looks a lot more consistent and less noisy than before.

Up late I see... That's great to hear! Over time, you will forget how to re-level (because you never need to!).

Yeah, I started replacing the arms at 10pm, which was probably a little late. :)

Just got mine in the mail today! Sending them off to anodizing ASAP and will mount shortly after :)

I should warn you that the Bearing area may have to be sanded after you anodize them. These were MachineD to fit the bearings there isn't much extra clearance for the anodizing layer

It will be interesting to see how thick the Anodizing layers are.

I decided against the anodizing after I did a test fit of the bearings. You're right- they are precision milled :)

I would have posted my "I made this" but the mightyboard exploded on me before I did the upgrade :( MBI has a new set of electronics in the mail. Hopefully I can get it all up for the weekend!

Bummer about the MB. When you get your new MB and cable, be sure to modify the cable with the resistor to keep a cable failure from blowing up another MB.

Agreed, or at the very least just snip the white wire. The LED feedback is nice but purely aesthetic.

No, don't do that. it's more then just the LED.

I removed the white wire from all the end-stop cables and so far all is fine... what is the resistor mod you're talking about?

The end stop signal return needs to be at a high state or low. Removing the wire allows the pin to float. The end result is that you can get random missteps.

You need to add a 1k resistor in series with the white wire at the Mightyboard side of the cable.

Thanks for the info!

I just got the server. It has crashed. Hardware failure....

Temp server running. My poor ANS 700/200 has died!

Your site is real slow you might want to think about switching over to zencart for easier purchasing and order tracking. Please shoot me an email over to [email protected] so i can order some aluminum arms. I have 6 replicators that i want to upgrade so that would be great.

I just sent you an email.

Speed is not the issue. There is a power outage. The web site will be back up in 3 hours. From there you can order, however, I suspect the system I have setup though PayPal will charge you equal shipping on each set you buy (no discount). It's a bit crazy to charge $90 domestic/ $180 international. I'll contact you directly about your order interest.

Ordered a Set up yesterday! Looking forward to not having to deal with the platform warping or vibration as much!

Mine came in and they work great! Thank you for doing this!

One set of shiny, sturdy arms now fitted . Thank you Bottleworks for making this happen! Just running a quick test print now and it's all looking good - they'll get a proper work out tomorrow.

I placed an order for a pair from the third batch. Are people that have received and installed these finding that this takes care of leveling issues?

Only 25 have been shipped so far. Half of those went overseas (so still in transit). The next 25 are shipping Monday. So, more will have their hands on these soon. Those that do have them installed - please post a photo in the "made" section!!

thank you bottleworks!

I've just opened up the ordering for the third batch of arms. I've already ordered the metal, so that should cut down on the lead time.

Ok. By now the US buyers of the first batch of arms should have received them. Let me know what you think. Feedback is welcome. Post a picture of your bot in the "made" section of this page.

Everything worked out great. Had to sand the wood down a bit for everything to fit snug. I'll post a picture later today of it completed. Thank you once again!

I'm packing up the first set of 25 arms right now...

AH, all sold out. I'd like to buy a kit if you run some more.

Stay Tuned. More May come.

Any chance they will fit the Replicator 2? I would like to upgrade and improve the Replicator 2. Maybe add an aluminum build plate to eliminate warping.

They -might-. I don't have a Rep2 available, so I can't say for sure. I know a couple people who are getting some of the first sets have both Replicator 1 & 2s. Maybe they will check it out.

Just found this, I'm hoping you do another run of these...

It might happen. The first sets haven't shipped yet, so we will see. The first sets should be shipping soon.

Money sent. Is there a replacement guide so I know what I'll be getting into?

Yes. I will be putting up a guide. There are some steps that people may skip that I feel are needed if I just say "good luck".

The freight company called... They will be dropping off the alumium stock on Monday.

Only 9 sets are left for sale...

I bring news! Good, bad, and just news...
The good news is that this is still happening and I don't have to refund everyone their money. Also, there will be 50 total sets made. There are currently 32 sets sold. It took longer to order the material then I hoped. I should have it by then end of this week (Jan 10-11th). I ordered 296.3 Lbs of aluminum...56 linear feet. The holidays pushed back everything. I couldn't get in contact with people and it was to the point that I was going to throw in the towel. Then some costs jumped up at the last minute. That's why there are 50 sets being made. It was going to cost more per set with only making 32.
So the bad news: It's going to take a little longer then I thought. The first 25 sets will be available 3 weeks after the material arrives. That brings the shipping date for the first 25 set to 4 weeks from now. The second 25 sets will be done 5-7 weeks from now (depending on you're order date). If you ordered before Dec 28th, 2012 @ 2 PM, you're within the first set of 25. After 2 PM, you're in the second round. I hope this timeline is worse case and things will move faster.

So, with that said, I've got 18 more sets for sale.

payment sent too!

you're awesome man so great idea ! :)

Nice idea!

Would MakerBeams work for this too? One of these should yield several arm pairs: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10540https://www.sparkfun.com/produ...

Your welcome to design your own. This project is for a "drop in" replacement. Not a rework.

I'm in, thanks for the unbeatable offer and effort involved.

You're crashing PayPal!

PayPal cannot process this transaction because of a problem with the
seller's website. Please contact the seller directly to resolve this

I messed up a setting...Again. I think it works now...?

It works with the normal price, but when I tried to order the arms with hardware from the drop-down list paypal gave me the same error. I can order the regular if you're still having trouble with the other.

Working on it. Not sure what's wrong. Hope to have it fixed by Friday.

Take 3: The ordering system should now be fixed.

Third time was a charm, and you now have another order! Thanks!!

FYI, some have asked: I can ship to Canada, UK, and Germany. If you're international beyond that, email me.

Thank you very much for making these!!

Payment sent!

I intend to anodize them jet black :)


Awesome. That's what I was thinking too.. Hmm...

Thank you for doing this! Payment sent!

When my set comes in I'll redo my platform files to make it not have the recesses and fill in the slots I'm seeing on the supports. Not a big deal and I'm sure it won't make a bit of difference but it will make for a nice look. I also plan to re-cut my platform out of aluminum.

That's what credit cards are for Gary.

Inb4 recession. oh wait.