Thing-O-Matic Body Assembly


Building the Body should take approximately 2 hours.

Gather Your Parts

These are the parts you'll need to assemble the Body. These laser-cut parts will not have their names etched into them. Find and put aside these parts:

3/2011 Update!

We've changed the left side panel in a recent update! The new version has an open side panel, like this:


The pictures on this page haven't been updated yet, but we are working on it. The process of assembly is the same.

Lasercut Parts

  • Laser-cut Stage Parts
    • Body Front
    • Body Back
    • Body Top
    • Body Middle (Acrylic)
    • Body Bottom
    • Body Left Side
    • Body Right Side
    • Rod Covers

Hardware Kit

  • Eight (8) M3x12 socket cap bolts
  • Eighty (80) M3x16 socket cap bolts
  • Eighty (80) M3 nuts
  • Five (5) M4x50 socket cap bolt
  • Seven (7) M4 nuts
  • Two (2) mechanical endstop switches (not pictured)
  • Four (4) 1/4" spacers (not pictured)
  • Two (2) cork gaskets
  • One Z axis motor
  • One stepper motor
  • One stepper motor pulley
  • One idler pulley
  • Two (2) 12-inch Z rods
  • Two (2) 11.875-inch Y rods

Peel Backing off Middle Plate

Before assembling, peel off the protective sheet from the acrylic middle piece. Start the peel by using a blade at one corner. Be very careful not to cut yourself!


Identify and Mark Middle Plate

Getting the middle plate in the right orientation is a critical part of your build. The middle piece has a top and a bottom. The top has the word "Middle" etched into it. Orient it like this so that the stepper motor mount is in the back right corner. Place a piece of Kapton tape on top in the back right corner. Write "back right" on the tape, so it can be peeled off later.

Note: The word "Middle" is actually etched onto the bottom of the sheet in the first batch, just make sure it looks like the picture above.


Bolt Four Rod Stops to Middle Plate

Make sure to put these on the bottom of the middle piece. Use M3x16s to attach them. Do not attach them with the M3x16 facing up as shown! Install them with the socket caps up or the Y axis will hit the bolts holding the front (unused) Z rod stops. The correct orientation is visible in one of the more fully assembled images below.


Secure Pulley to Y Motor

Pulley teeth should be towards the top, flange should be flush with the top of the motor shaft, but in more recent batches, this will be significantly too low and will need to be adjusted later.

If you find that you are having difficulty sliding the pulley onto the motor, sand down the shaft so that you can more easily position the pulley.


Bolt Y Motor to Back Right corner of Middle Plate

Add one cork gasket to the stepper motor and bolt it in place with four M3x10 bolts, making sure the wires are facing inward. We'll adjust it later. When viewed with the motor shaft sticking up, the motor needs to be in the back right corner.

Bolt both rod caps to acrylic plate as shown.


Y Idler Assembly to Middle

Now to mount the idler pulley to the Middle. Take one M4x50 bolt, one Idler pulley, and three M4 nuts. The stackup looks like this:

M4 bolt + idler pulley (teeth down) + nut + middle + 2 nuts

When you're done, put a dab of 3-in-1 oil, or other lubricant on the Y Idler so it rotates nicely.


Fan to Left Side

NOTE: The fan mount has been removed in favor of an open left side. These instructions are here for reference only. The fan is no longer included.

UPDATE: As of December 21, our research has shown that having the fan does not help with prints at all and in fact adds cracking to prints. We put it in there so folks would have an option for venting and it turns out that wasn't the best idea. You could, if you choose, enclose the Thing-O-Matic and add your own fan.

In testing, we've found that running the fan during builds can cool the object and increase cracks in the model. More testing is needed so consider the fan experimental at this time.

For this step you will need the 12V fan, four M4x45/50mm bolts, four M4 nuts, and the laser-cut filter mount. Mount the fan so it's on the inside, blowing outwards. There will be arrows on the fan to show the airflow direction. Make sure the power supply lead will fit on the inside.


Optional: Attach A Filter

No filter is provided in the kit, so you will need to find a local source. Good places to look are hardware stores, pet supply stores, etc. You will need to cut it to size with a pair of scissors.


Bolt Rod Covers to Back

Bolt these onto the outside of the Back piece.

Join Middle to Left and Right

This will be a bit wobbly. The Motor should be towards the back and to the right. Feel free to use a bit of tape to stabilize. Don't use bolts as it may lead to the risk of snapping tabs.

It's extremely important to get the orientation of this right — the stepper driver and endstop switch should be towards the back, the fan should be on the left, and the idler pulley in the front. Any deviation from this arrangement will cause trouble later, and to change this, you'll need to disassemble the body completely.


Join Top to Left and Right

Now mount the Top to the left and Right sides. This will stabilize things a bit. Use tape if needed to keep it all in place.


Attach Front to Assembly

Now for the Front piece, as this will lock things in place. Use some bolts to lightly secure it in place.


Look close at the bottom right of the front piece - that's where you'll find your machines serial number.

Attach Back to Assembly

Note the orientation of the endstop holes at top of the back. The endstop holes must have this orientation. This piece might take some wiggling to get it to fall into place, so be patient and don't force it! Once in place, bolt it in.


Add XY Stage

The Y belt should line up with the motor. Insert the Y rods at the same time to lock it in place. These will be the middle length rods; they are only slightly shorter than the Z rods. The 'Front' part of the XY stage should face towards the front of your Thingomatic.


Add Rod Covers to Front

Add the rest of the rod covers to lock the rods in place. Bolt them in with more M3x16 bolts.


Align the bearings

The self-aligning bearings consist of three parts: a black outer sleeve, an inner brass bushing, and a plastic washer. You can see the sleeve and bushing in this cutaway with the plastic washer on the side.


This configuration allows the shaft to move through a few degrees without binding. Notice in these two images how the shaft and brass bushing move while the outer sleeve remains in place.


Align the bearings by wiggling the platforms gently. This will align the bearings close to their ideal position for smooth operation.

Tighten the XY belt

Place the belt over the idler pulley.


Loosen the bolts holding the stepper motor in place. Slide the stepper motor toward the machine's inside. Place the belt over the stepper motor pulley. Note that the belt may be a tight fit at first, try placing the belt at an angle over one of the pulley edges to fit it on.


Slide the stepper motor back to tighten the belt. Tighten the bolts.


Now is the time to check if your pulley needs to be adjusted upwards.

Move the Y stage back as far as it will go, and check if the belt is rubbing against the lower edge of the hole where it goes thru the Y stage. Here is an example of a pulley installed too low:


To adjust the pulley, with the Y stage all the way forward, loosen the bolts and slide the motor forward to loosen the belt and slip it off the pulley. Even if the set screws are below the level of the acrylic, you should now be able to slide the motor back and get enough clearance along the groove to get your Allen wrench to the set screws.

Loosen the set screws, and slide the pulley up a few millimeters. Put the belt back on, put a little tension on it and gently secure the motor in position, hand-tight for now. Now adjust the height of the pulley so that the belt clears the holes and runs level. This may require as much as 8mm of adjustment, but as long as the set screws can still tighten onto the motor shaft, it will be fine.

Run the Y stage back and forth, checking the pulley height. Tighten the set screws on the pulley, adjust the tension on the belt and bolt down the motor.

Here is an example of the pulley installed at the right height:


Add Z Stage

Insert the Z stage with the large piece towards the bottom. Insert the Z rods at the same time. These are the longest rods. Slide them all the way into their respective holes in the Middle where you've already mounted rod caps.


Add Z Rod Covers

Put covers on all four Z rod locations, as this will lock them in place.


Attach Z Motor

This will be the motor with the threaded shaft attached to it. Using a cork gasket, mount it with four M3x12 bolts to the rear of the Top piece. Make sure the lead connection is facing to the right.


Attach Power Supply

Using four shiny 6-32x3/8" inch screws, attach the power supply to its designated spot on the left side.

UPDATE 3/2011: We've just started including new, upgraded power supplies which have a slightly different rear footprint. We've started including (4) extra 1/8" spacers to help in this case. If your power supply doesn't fit the rear cutout, use these spacers between the power supply and rear case panel; mount with M3x16mm bolts instead of the shiny machine screws.

Power Supply Notes: The included Power Supply has protective circuitry that will prevent it from turning on immediately after a power outage. For that reason if you turn it off and it does not power up turn it off and wait five minutes for it to reset.

The included Power Supply has been tested for the US North American Market and though our manufacturer has specified that it will work with 220 50hz power if there are problems we suggest you replace it with a power supply from a local vendor.


This is also a good time to make sure the red switch that selects your local voltage supply is in the correct position. The switch should be pushed to the right, with the text "115V" visible, in areas with 120V power mains (USA and Canada). The switch should be set to the left, with the text "230V" visible, in areas with 230V power mains (EU, China). Make sure you don't have the power supply set to "115V" when plugging it into a 230V outlet!


Attach thumb wheels.

Locate the two remaining thumb screw knobs. Using two pliers press the knob onto the shorter M5 bolts as shown below.

Attach Stepstruder MK6

Using two M5 bolts you made, attach the Stepstruder to the Z Stage. Secure it to the innermost holes on the bottom of the Z Stage. Make sure all your wires exit the heated area cleanly without coming in contact with heated parts. Tighten the bolts. It should now look like the picture below.


Next Step: Build your Safety Cutoff

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