Z Axis Extender Kit for Makerbot Cupcake

by Zydac, published

Z Axis Extender Kit for Makerbot Cupcake by Zydac Nov 9, 2010

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Pop your top and lift your lid with this Z axis extension kit. I can print up to 205mm so far, and it can probably be tweaked to go higher. (Now that I have it installed I realize that I could add another 10mm to the base)

This was inspired by http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4261 and the pulley mounted crank from that settup works great with this.

I've added .obj files for those who want to stretch things a bit more...


I found the easiest was to install was to unscrew the top of the Makerbot and lift the whole lot up. Remove the lower Z axis retainers and screw the four base towers in. The top lifters should be installed as per the top. I included a few extra screw holes in case you think you need extra bracing. Note that one of the lower parts has some print support to cut out. The top lifters are adjustable so you can raise it or lower it to the capabilities of your machine. You can also lift the Z axis pulleys to the tops of the rods to get a little extra height out.

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how on earth did you bolt in all 4 corners of all 4 extenders (with the bearing mounted in the top) this is extremely challenging to install

this is one of the great upgrades that is also an exercise in zen makerbot assembly and disassembly. :)

Do you mean the extender bases? I used a long hex key and a Thing from Thingiverse called a Cupcake tool or something like that. Still, lots of dropped nuts...

I'm having an issue generating the GCode for the Z_Extension_FBUpper, it generates with skeingforge 31, but not 35, any ideas?

I generated all of my parts using the skeinforge "standard" version.

Okay it's all done and moving smoothly up to 194mm now.. What to print though? :)

I'm printing out large sections that I will be glued together to make a model of a car body panel. So these extenders help save time and reduce variance in the final piece. Gluing hundreds of small cupcake size pieces are a headache and increase dimensional errors due to gluing and flawed varied adjustments involved. Ideally, it would be better to have one gigantic room size printer to print out the panel in one job. So these extenders at least tends towards that direction.


It's also nice to scale up some of the vase designs on Thingiverse.

Washington Monument 210mm tall
by Zydac

I ended up printing this bottle for my first one, scaled to 185mm: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:7704http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

by aubenc

(I'll give the monument a shot when my flow rate has been better adjusted. :) )

I'm totally going to do this.. I love making tall prints! What about those winged-bolt things keeping the top riser bits in place, what are those called if I go to a hardware store to pick some up?

I thought it would be a hassle but it turned out alright so far.

By the way, how do you just post the pic in the "Other People's Copies" category?

Nice job! I'm glad to see someone else trying this. You can put a pic in "Other People's Copies" by clicking on the "I Made One!" button on the right side of the object page.

out of curiousity... how many copies of each do you have to make? Is 4 the magic number?

Yes, 4 of each.

Wow, this is simply amazing!

has anyone tried this yet with the automated build platform? Should These files be stretched more for it?

LOL.. awesome...

sooo. how do this do for the wobble.?

Actually not too bad on the wobble. I have mendel-style X and Y axes which help. Depends what you print. Twice the print height=twice the possibility of mystery X-axis shifts. Also the nozzle bumping into excess material at the top has twice the leverage to mess things up.

Funny enough, smaller prints are much smoother now. This is because two of my Z rods are bowed in the middle and the towers make the print start at the previously unused bottom of the rods which are much less wobbly.

My Ultimate Cupcake came with relatively straight steel rods with slight grinding that wobble arrestors cured immediately. So all the parts with this extender kit worked from the start of operation.

 My other Cupcake which is over a year old and my first had wobbly z rods that required wobble arrestors and multiple swapping and adjustments to get it to work properly.  When I installed the extender kit, the z mounting posts made the wobbly rods worst during operation.  I found that the bottom part of the rods were the worst areas for the z platform to move on and the rod posts made that the starting point during prints.  As a result, missed z steps would occur at the start and caused prints to be squished.  So I ditched the old rods and post mounts and cut out 16 inch rods from 3 meter rods that I got from McMasters.  So now the z rods go from bottom to top and printing starts several inches from the bottom of the rods.

PLA with blue painter's tape will be hard to wobble or knockdown. A collision with the nozzle will involve having the whole platform taken off the y-stage.


A monster-truck Cupcake!


.o0( Will he try 1m threaded rod version? ) =-O

I'll let someone else do that! I've had enough fiddling around with the hex wrench for now! :-P

whoa, nicely done!