MakerBot Automated Build Platform Assembly

Estimated Build Time: 1.5 hours

Tools you'll need

The Automated Build Platform goes together easily. You'll need a few simple tools to help you along.

  • Included with kit
    • 0.035 inch kex key
    • 1.5 mm hex key
    • 2.5 mm hex key
    • Kapton tape
    • sand paper
  • Supplied by you
    • scissors
    • razor knife
    • tweezers
    • soldering iron
    • wirestrippers
    • ruler
    • solder
    • Sharpie marker
  • Optional
    • super glue
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Parts You'll Need

The Automated Build Platform v1.0 kit contains all the parts you need for assembly. Let's take a look at what comes in the kit.

In the kit

Lasercut Parts

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20 mm DC gear motor

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Conveyor Belt

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Kapton Tape

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Electronics kit

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Custom bits kit

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Heat Spreader

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Relay board kit

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Hardware Kit

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Parts list

Before you begin

You should read through MakerBlock's post before you begin. He has some helpful tips form his experience building the MakerBot Automated Build Platform.

Build it!

Cut the headers

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: razor knife. You will also need the following parts: 7-pin header.
You have a 7-pin header. Cut it into two 2-pin headers and one 3-pin header.

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You should now have these parts.

Assemble the motor

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: soldering iron, solder, Kapton tape, and wire strippers. You will also need the following parts: 20 mm gear motor, 6 inch (150mm) black/red wire, and one 2-pin header.

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Use your wire strippers to strip approximately 5 mm off both ends of the black/red wire.

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Add a little solder to the ends of the wires

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Your result should look like this. This will help in the next step.

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Solder a 2-pin terminal to the other end of the black and red cable. You will probably want to hold down the headers as you solder.

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Wrap it up using some of your Kapton tape.

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Place the red wire in the hole of the terminal near the red dot. Place the black wire in the hold of the other terminal. Bend the ends of the wires, so they hold onto the terminals well.

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Solder the wires to the terminals.

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Your motor is now complete and should look like the image below.

Assemble the Heated Build Platform

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: soldering iron, solder, Kapton tape, and wire strippers, tweezers. You will also need the following parts: heated build platform circuit board, 2-pin terminal, 3-pin terminal, 4.7 KOhm resistor, 0.1 nF capacitor, and one 100 KOhm thermistor, a short length of wire.

Add the resistor and capactor

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Find the labeled metal pads. We will solder to these. There are pads on the other side that do not have labels, but we will not use them.

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Add a small bit of solder to the three small pads nearest to the white outline on the board.

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Hold the black resistor with your tweezers.

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Gently press down on the resistor while you heat the solder with your soldering iron. The solder should melt and stick to the resistor. Remove the soldering iron. Keep holding down the resistor until the solder sets.

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Solder the other side of the resistor.

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Your result should look like this.

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Hold the brown capacitor with your tweezers.

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Gently press down on the capacitor while you heat the solder with your soldering iron. The solder should melt and stick to the capacitor. Remove the soldering iron. Keep holding down the capacitor until the solder sets.

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Solder the other side of the capacitor.

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Your result should look like this.

Add the headers

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Add solder to the pad marked with a minus sign.

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Use your tweezers to grab a 2-pin header. The legs on the headers are the same length, so you can solder them in either direction.

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Gently press down on the header while heating the solder with your soldering iron. The solder will melt and stick to the header. Remove the soldering iron and wait for the solder to solidify. Release the header.

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Solder the pad labeled with a plus sign. Then add some more solder to the other pad, so it looks like this.

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Add solder to the pad labeled "GND".

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Gently bend out the legs of your 3-pin header, so they look like this.

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Use your tweezers to grab the 3-pin header. The bent legs should be on the heated build platform.

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Gently press down on the header while heating the solder with your soldering iron. The solder will melt and stick to the header. Remove the soldering iron. Wait for the solder to solidify. Release the header.

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Your result should look like this.

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Solder the "5V" and "SIG" pads. Add solder to the GND pin if necessary. Your result should look like this.

Add the thermistor

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Place your thermistor head in the hole.

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Stretch one leg to the pad marked "GND".

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Tape the head in place.

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Use your tweezers to hold the leg of the thermistor. Hold the end of the leg against the GND pad and heat it up with your soldering iron. The solder should melt and stick to the leg. You may have to add additional solder to the pad. If the leg can't quite reach, you can use a small piece of wire to bridge the gap.

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Your result should look like this.

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The other leg of the thermistor must be connected to the pad closest to the label "R30". The leg is too short to reach all the way. You will use a small length of wire to bridge the gap.

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Using your tweezers hold one end of a small piece of wire on the solder on pad R30. Use your soldering iron to heat the solder. The solder should melt and stick to the wire. Remove the soldering iron. When the solder sets you can release the tweezers.

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Your result should look like this.

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Move the second leg of the thermistor under the small piece of wire, so you can solder it easily.

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Solder the thermistor leg to the small piece of wire.

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Your result should look like this.

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Tape everything down with a length of Kapton tape.

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Your result should look like this.

Add the heat spreader

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: none. You will also need the following parts: completed heated build platform, aluminum foil heat spreader.

In this step it is important that you peel the paper away from the aluminum foil rather than peeling the foil from the paper. This will help keep the foil nice and smooth.

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Locate an edge of the aluminum foil with a notch cut out. Peel away part of the paper backing from the foil starting with the notched edge.

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Place the edge of the foil along the edge of the heated build platform such that the notches match up with the holes in the board. Rub your finger against the foil along this edge to secure it.

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Peel back some paper and rub down the aluminum foil.

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Peel back some paper and rub down the aluminum foil.

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Peel back some paper and rub down the aluminum foil.

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Peel back some paper and rub down the aluminum foil.

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Peel back some paper and rub down the aluminum foil.

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Continue to rub back and forth along the aluminum foil as you add the remaining foil to the heated build platform. Your result should look like this.

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Fold the paper backing into quarters. Use it to rub in small circles around the surface of the aluminum. This will help the foil stick well.

Assemble the Belt

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: Kapton tape and scissors. You will also need the following parts: conveyor belt. In this step it is useful to have an extra set of hands.

Tape can sometimes be frustrating to work with because it stick to everything. Don't worry. We've included a huge roll with your kit. If a piece of tape gets a little messed up, just cut a new piece. It's okay, we all get into sticky situations sometimes.

Determine which side of the belt is the print side by using a sharpie. Make a small mark on the belt. If the belt doesn't reject the ink, then you've found the print side.

Wipe down both sides of your belt with isopropyl alcohol or acetone to remove any oil or other residue. This will help the Kapton tape and your prints stick to the belt.

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Cut a length of Kapton tape approximately 20 cm long.

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Lay the tape flat with the sticky side up. It is helpful to have a friend hold down the ends, keeping the tape taught. Alternatively, you can use two smaller pieces of tape to hold down the 20 cm piece of tape.

Place the edge of the belt down the center line of the tape. Make sure there are no air bubbles. To prevent air bubbles roll the belt onto the tape from one end to the other.

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Your result should look like this. This image and most of the following belt assembly images are likely the mirror image of how your belt should look. Make sure that the print side (previously determined) is facing up. Keep the sticky side of the tape up. The ends of the tape should extend a few centimeters beyond the edge of the belt.

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Fold the edge of the belt with no tape under the belt as shown in the image below. In this image the sticky side of the tape is facing up.

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Take the end of the belt with no tape and fold over, so it butts against the other end of the belt.

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You should now have a loop. The tape should be on the inside of this loop with the sticky side facing out.

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Now crease the belt, so it easily sits fairly flat. The sticky side of the tape should face up.

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Cut another length of tape approximately 20 cm long as you did earlier.

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Tape the outer side of the belt seam. It would be helpful to have a friend hold the belt flat.

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Trim the tape, so it does not extend beyond the edge of the belt.

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Bend the creases to remove them. Your result should look like this.

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Draw a small arrow along one edge of your belt on the Kapton tape. The arrow should point toward the acute angle. This will indicate the direction in which the belt will turn.

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Tape around the edge of the belt on the side with the arrow. Apply the tape in the direction opposite the direction the arrow points.

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Keep going…

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and going…

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The tape should go around the belt 1.5 times. This step prevents the tape's leading edge from getting caught and peeling up as the belt turns in the direction of the arrow.

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Cut the tape. Make sure everything is stuck down well. Your conveyor belt is now complete and should look like this.

Cut the tube

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: razor knife, ruler. You will also need the following parts: rubber tube.

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(TAKE A PHOTO OF THE CUT PIECES)
Cut your tube into two 85 mm pieces and one 10 mm piece. Keep the extra tube with your spare parts. Your result should look like this.

Assemble the rollers

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: none. You will also need the following parts: four plastic washers, four flanged spacers, two metal shafts, two 85 mm pieces of rubber tube.

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Push the tube over the shaft. The tube must be pushed on rather than pulled on. It is a bit like a finger trap toy.

If you can't get the tube on in one piece, thats okay. Cut it into two or three shorter pieces. Then put each piece onto the shaft.

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Locate two plastic washers and two flanged spacers.

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Place the plastic washers over the shaft such that they are against the rubber tube. Place the flanged spacers over the shaft such that the flange is against the washer.

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Move the parts around the shaft such that the end of the shaft is almost flush with the end of the flanged spacer. The shaft should protrude mostly from one side and only slightly from the other.

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Repeat the above steps to make an identical roller. Your rollers are complete and should look like this.

Assemble the Silicone Nozzle Wiper - For Use with Teflon-Coated Nozzle

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Automated Build Platforms shipped after the addition of the teflon-coated nozzles in the Plastruder MK5 include a small wedge of Extreme-Temperature Silicone Rubber edge trim, pre-drilled with a mounting hole, and hardware.

This wiper mounts in the same position as the wire brush mounting point on the left side of the platform. Push included M3 x 20mm bolt and nylon washer through the top of the 90˚ edge trim with the upright portion (flap) on the side closest to the front of the bot. (Note: item pictured with flap closer to the heated platform electrical ports — an acceptable alternative used in the BotCave by Operators who like to position the Plastruder head along the y-axis a few milimeters behind the raised flap before initiating the print.) Tighten down with M3 nut beneath the platform.

Note that customers who purchased a Plastruder MK5 with a teflon-coated nozzle before the invention of the silicone wiper: you can use the brush handle and tubing as a substitute wiper by dropping the handle and raising the tubing.

Assemble the Brush - Without the Teflon-Coated Nozzle

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These instructions are for printing with a non-coated nozzle. To complete this step you will need the following tools: razor knife. You will also need the following parts: one 10 mm rubber tube, brass bristle brush.

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Using a razor knife make a cut approximately 4 mm deep into one end of the tube.

Make three more cuts such that the end of the tube is divided into eight approximately equal sections.

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Cut.

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Cut.

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Cut.

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Place the shaft of the brush through the end of the tube you just cut.

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Keep pushing the brush through until the tube stretches over the end. Leave approximately 1 mm of the brush exposed. Your brush is complete and should look like this.

Assemble the Cables

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: razor knife. You will also need the following parts: three 4-wire cables.

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Take one cable and set the others to the side. On one end of this cable remove the female pins from the housing by gently pressing on the recessed metal tab with a pointy object then pulling on the corresponding wire.

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To make the first cable cut away the white and green wires. Your first cable should look like the this: red and black wires, housing on one end, female pins on the other.

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Using the technique above to remove the pins from the housing make a green and black cable. Your second cable should look like this: green and black wires, housing on one end, female pins on the other.

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Don't remove the housing from the third cable. Your third cable should look like this: white, green, and black wires, housing on each end.

Assemble the Body

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: 1.5 mm hex wrench, 2.5 mm hex wrench. You will also need the following parts: laser cut parts, seven M3x12 bolts, seven M3 nuts, one washer, five cube magnets, two M2x8 bolts, assembled motor.

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Place your five new magnets on your current Y-stage. Mark the magnets on the top with a Sharpie marker. This will ensure your Automated Build Platform properly fits on your Y-stage.

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Stack up your five new magnets. Locate the end of the stack with the mark you made.

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Insert each magnet into a hole with the marked side pointing into the hole.

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Push the magnets in so they are just slightly recessed. If they are raised above the surface at all, your Automated Build Platform will wobble.

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Place the sides on the bottom. Pay attention to the orientation of the three holes on the bottom and the sides.

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Place this assembly in your MakerBot to check everything is correctly assembled before you continue. Ensure that the angled edge of the Automated Build Platform faces toward the front of your MakerBot. Ensure the magnets are correctly inserted and the platform snaps to the Y-stage.

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If your Automated Build Platform snaps onto your Y-stage, add some glue to the inside part of the magnet holes. This will help keep the magnets in place. Do not put glue on the part of the magnet that touches the Y-stage.

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Place a nut in the T-slot and screw in a bolt.

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Insert the nuts and bolts for the remaining three holes. Tighten the bolts.

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Locate the left side of the body. Make sure you use this side and not the other.

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Install the motor using the two M2x8 bolts. Turn both bolts holding the motor until they are snugly against the wood. It's okay if the bolt heads go into the wood a little.

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Place the end of the motor cable through the slot at the other end of the body.

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Place an M3x12 bolt with a nut and washer through the hole next to the slot. Let the wire hand out a little. Snugly tighten the bolt. This mechanism will hold the cable in place and relieve the stress at the motor-cable solder joint.

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Install the front plate and secure it with two M8x12 bolts.

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The body is mostly assembled and should look like the image below.

Put it all Together

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To complete this step you will need the following tools: 2.5 mm hex wrench. You will also need the following parts: assembled body, assembled belt, assembled heated build platform, four M3x12 bolts, four M3 nuts, two assembled rollers.

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Place the belt in the body with the arrow pointing forward.

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Place the brush retainer in the slot on the left.

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Place the laser cut top in the belt and on the body.

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Place the heated build platform on top of the body.

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Place a nut in one of the T-slots. Thread a bolt through the, but don't tighten it yet.

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Place nuts and bolts in the rest of T-slots on the top. Once they are all in tighten them.

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Place a roller through the belt at the front. The longer exposed part of the shaft should be on the side with the motor.

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Snap the roller into place at the front of the Automated Build Platform.

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Place a roller through the belt at the back. The longer exposed part of the shaft should be on the side with the motor.

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Snap the roller into place at the back of the Automated Build Platform.

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Your result should look like this.

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Place one of your two gears on the motor shaft. Ensure the set screw is aligned with the flat part of the shaft. Tighten the set screw.

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Place the other gear on the roller shaft at the front of the platform. There is not flat part on this shaft. Don't tighten it yet.

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Ensure the two gears mesh well. Move the roller shaft gear until it aligns with the motor gear. Tighten the set screw firmly.

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Place the assembled brush or silicone nozzle wiper in the brush retainer.

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Your Automated Build Platform should now look like this.

Add the cables

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Add the assembled cables as show in the image below. Ensure the green wire of the the green and black cable connects to the red wire of the motor cable. Ensure the lock tabs are facing up on two cables connected to the heated build platform.

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Zip tie the cables to the body. Place a zip tie through the slot with the motor cable. Wrap the zip tie around the cables such that the cables come out through the top.

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Once you are confident the cables are in the correct orientation tighten the zip tie.

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Trim the zip tie. Your cables should look like the image below.

Build the relay board

Included with your MakerBot Automated Build Platform is the Relay Board Kit. See the Relay Board assembly page for assembly instructions.

Mount the relay board

If you have a Relay Board Mount Kit, follow the mounting instructions.. Otherwise, fine a nice way to mount your relay board to you MakerBot.

Connect the wires

Connect the extruder heater

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The extruder heater is output B+ and B- on the extruder controller. Connect these to input A+ and A- of the relay board.

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Connect the extruder heater wires to the output A+ and A- of the relay board.

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Your result should look like this.

Connect the MakerBot Automated Build Platform heater

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The MakerBot Automated Build Platform heater is output A+ and A- on the extruder controller. Connect these to input B+ and B- on the relay board.

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Connect the MakerBot Automated Build Platform heater to output B+ and B- on the relay board.

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Your result should look like this.

Connect to extruder controller

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The white, green, and black cable connects to A6 with the black wire located near the label "A6".

The green and black cable connects to C- and C+ respectively.

B+ and B- of the extruder controller connect to inputs A+ and A- of the relay board. A+ and A- of the extruder controller connect to B+ and B- of the relay board.

Mount in your MakerBot

Your Automated Build Platform is complete and ready to use. If your extruder is mounted with thumb screws, you must remove the thumb screw caps. If you do not, the brush will hit the thumb screw cap. Place it on you Y-stage and move on to usage.

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