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Makerbot CupCake 3D Printer

The 3D printer at DoES Liverpool is a Makerbot CupCake. It connects to your computer via USB and controlled via the ReplicatorG software.

Log any weird prints or maintenance in the MakerbotCupCake/Log

Setting Up The Printer to Print

The first thing to do, is get the printer powered up. The nozzle and the heated bed will take 10 - 15 mins to heat up, so it's good to get it powered up and connected to your computer via the USB cable.

We currently have a small issue with power to the extruder motor, so this is currently a bit more complicated than we would like, but you have to switch the printer on on 3 locations...

  1. The main computer style PSU.
  2. A small slider switch on the main motherboard
  3. The auxiliary PSU for the extruder motor.

Configuring the Software

One you have the printer powered up and connected, you'll have to tweak some of the settings for Skeinforge (the part of ReplicatorG which generates the GCode to drive the printer) to tailor it to our specific printer. These are the things you should check:-

Get the correct Skeinforge profile settings. The "current best" version is stored in github at You should clone this to your Skeinforge profiles directory - on Linux this is ~/.replicatorg/sf_35_profiles/. (Some additional steps to GetThisWorkingOn a Mac). Then when you open ReplicatorG you should have a DoES-CupCake-Settings profile if you go into the GCode -> Edit Slicing Profiles menu. Choose the correct profile and click Edit, then make sure you've got the correct Profile Selection for the plastic being used.

Now you should be correctly connected to the printer, we need to setup the base parameters. Open up the control panel ether by clicking on the icon in the menu bar, or by selecting Machine -> Control Panel. From the control panel you setup the following parameters:-

Generating 3D Models



Upgrade Thoughts

The MakerbotCupCake doesn't get much use since we got the RepRap, as the prints are so much better off that. However, the Cupcake is a much more portable design and having two decent 3D printers would be nicer than just one :-)

So, we've been wondering how to get the Cupcake up to a reasonable spec. There seem to be two main issues:

  1. The DC motor extruder isn't very precise - a stepper-based extruder would be much better (plus the existing DC-motor can't run in reverse at the moment, making it worse than usual)
  2. Upgrading the firmware to one which supports microstepping would give more accurage x/y/z movement (and have the side-effect of making it much quieter to run)

Progress at 9/3/2013

The Sailfish firmware seems the most appropriate option -!topic/makerbot/MISZe84b1pU[1-25-false]. However, the Cupcake has Gen3 electronics, which won't work with that (or with a stepper-based extruder). To fix that, we'd need a 3G 5D shield, which unfortunately I haven't found anywhere selling them yet (though it's open-source, and seems fairly simple, so we could probably make our own if need be). Similarly the Stepstruder (Mk6 or Mk7 should work) are tricky to source, but indicates that we should be able to mount a Wades extruder (or similar Reprap extruder) onto it instead (e.g. the Greg's hinged extruder with this mounting part). Actually, looking at it seems the Mk5 extruder might be "NEMA 17 compatible", and so upgrading to a Mk6 might just involve replacing the motor with a NEMA 17 stepper

So the main thing to do first is to source a 3G 5D shield, and then work out the extruder options from there. There's also the 3G 5D mini, which seems an easier build (because it doesn't include the end-stop options as it doesn't obscure them)

3d Filament

Obviously, from time to time our filament will run out - either that, or you might want a particular colour. If you want to purchase filament, you can do so from

DoESWiki: MakerbotCupCake (last edited 2015-09-10 08:53:25 by JulianTodd)