Don't Do That!


Several MakerBot builders have shared their mistakes and missteps in the hopes that others will not follow in their footsteps! Everyone makes some mistakes putting their machines together, and yet they all eventually work. Hopefully this section will both provide useful information and make you feel better when you make your own errors. The names have been removed to protect the embarrassed!. We will add to this list based on what comes through the MakerBot Operators group, but feel free to add your own experiences by editing the page.

Be sure and also check out the "When things go wrong" page at: When things go wrong!

Be careful when you cut down your threaded rods!

Heh- just a warning for those of you working on your Makerbots- be
very careful if/when you cut down the M8 threaded rod of the Z-stage.
I inadvertently cut it too short, and had to reorder another set of
rods from McMaster-Carr. My suggestion is to get the whole thing
working, and then cut them down at that point. I thought I was being
clever by doing it at the beginning, but I made an error of
measurement rather than working from an assembled Makerbot. Lesson
learned, but hopefully nobody else is this dumb… :-)

I would like to add, if you are cutting your own M8 rods with a dremel or > other cutting device, not to grab the end you cut with bare fingers just > after cutting, i now have a nice M8 thread branded into my fingers for the > next week or so… From Roboteernat.

Double-check that the sides are on the right ways!

HA HA HA! At least you didnt assemble your whole makerbot to figure out that your sides were backwards

If you always remember that the labels face _outward_ and watch the illustrations on the build instructions carefully, you should be okay.

Switch your power supply to the right voltage!

I almost plugged in my MakerBot without switching the power supply
from 110V to 230V! Luckily I *accidently* glanced the 110/230V switch
next to the main power switch when pluging in the power cable.
That was really close, I can tell you…

So I'd like to extend your warning for all new MakerBot operators in
Europe: Remember to switch the power supply to your actual current! :)

Make sure your idler wheel is well attached

Heh. Never use superglue to attach the idler wheel, mine fell off.
Used Epoxy instead. Mucho strengtho!

If you must use superglue, get the good stuff, a reputable hobby shop will usually have glue of the right strength and viscosity.

Be very careful with the small SMD parts!

Apart from loosing an SMD Capacitor and a resistor mine went quite
smooth… .

Don't forget to tighten the bolts on the plastruder motor!

how about disassembling your plastruder then reassembling then disassembling because you forgot to tighten the bolts on the motor?

Make sure your laser cutter is in alignment!

If you laser cut your own panels, make sure that the cutter is aligned before you start- the parts need a significant amount of precision to assemble and run properly.

At least you didn't assemble your makerbot z-body and then spend 30
minutes figuring out that it didn't sit level because your laser
cutter was out of alignment….

Be careful where you plug in your cables!

I had a long close look at the "not ethernet" ports on the MoBo,
before I figured that the end stops probably do not plug into there..
ha ha.. not sure what would have happened, but I know they feed power
for the extruder sooo.

Don't unplug a stepper motor while its stepped board is powered!

I lost a stepper board this way trying to move the cable around.
There's a warning on the cupcake-calibration page
but I saw it too late.

Make sure you turn your motherboard on before you try to upload!

When you start the upload, you have to hit the reset button on the
motherboard to get it to upload correctly. Yes, your motherboard should
have lights on it. If it does not, check the power switch. There should be
a green power light at the very minimum near the top right under where you
plug the TTL cable in. the LED underneath this should flash red while you
are uploading.

Make sure your reset button is in alignment!

When soldering in your reset button(s), make sure pin one on the switch lines up with pin one on the board. If you put in sideways, the board is always resetting, meaning it'll never take firmware.

Those four-pin reset switches? Directional. Don't just solder them in
any-which-way; turn them over and look for the logo. The terminal to the
right-side of the logo is generally pin 1. There's a notation on the
silkscreen for a reason

Make sure you thread the right end of the heater barrel into the insulator

Thread the dressed/tapered end into the teflon or the gap will cause a dam to form that will force the head apart.

Don't over-tighten the idler wheel!

If you bought the MK4 UPGRADE kit for your MK3 be sure not to over-tighten the idler wheel it puts a ton of stress on the wheel and can fracture and/or break it!

"This is to all of you that bought the mk4 upgrade kit! dont tighten
the idler wheel down onto the metal rod that came with the kit! this
puts excess stress on the wheel and can cause it to crack and break…"

Don't over-tighten… period!!

Be careful not to over-tighten the ubiquitous M3 16mm bolts. You can crack the pieces, especially the acrylic Plastruder pieces. Doh!

Don't lose the thermistor!

It would be a good idea to make sure you never drop the thermistor, if you do it will most likely vanish into thin air. Finding a needle in a haystack is trivial compared to finding a thermistor the size of a hair in carpet. Just don't do it. Attaching a piece of tape to it until the wires are soldered on would be a great idea too.

The 100k glass bead thermistors stick to magnets - so attaching it to a magnet is a good way not to lose it! If you do drop it, a magnet can help you find it…

Don't get too carried away trying to unblock your extruder!

That last bit of resistance I felt apparently wasn't solidified ABS residue after all…

Don't get too close while watching the print!

I did and got my hair caught in the z-pulley and belt. Ouch!

If you change filament on the fly, make sure BOTH ends are nice & square

If you're printing along and are thinking about swapping the filament - maybe you want to change colors or are running out of filament - without stopping the print, make sure that both ends have nice, straight cuts to the end.

If you don't do this and one/both ends are wedge-shaped, the two filaments may try to work themselves around each other. This is bad and can rapidly lead to you needing to rebuild the hot end. Straight, square cuts only!

Don't break your thermistor!!!

Ever since I first built extruders, I have broken the thermistor that came with the extruder. For my first 2 extruders, I had to order new thermistors. My MK5 is the only extruder I have not broken the thermistor for.

Never overtighten anything!

My first Cupcake has way overtightened bolts everywhere. Only tighten the T-slot connectors to where the nut becomes snug but doesn't start digging into any wood. In the tough-to-reach places, you can make it dig a little so you don't have to go in and tighten them, but otherwise don't overtighten.

Especially on the pulleys! DO NOT TIGHTEN DOWN THE PULLEY BOLTS UNTIL YOU HAVE USED YOUR MACHINE QUITE A BIT AND KNOW THE OPTIMAL TENSION. I accidentally smooshed the wood and now I am stuck with certain belt tensions. Fortunately they are okay :)

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