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August 12 2015

The Nuts & Bolts of 3D Printing with the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer
The Nuts & Bolts of 3D Printing with the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer

July 28 2015

Swapping the MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder -Web
What's So Smart About the Smart Extruder? Web

July 27 2015

MakerBot 3D Ecosystem
MakerBot Stories | Jigs and Fixtures

July 24 2015

MakerBot Stories | Coolest Cooler

July 23 2015

MakerBot Factory Grand Opening 7.22

June 23 2015

From the Makers | MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform

June 22 2015

MakerBot Stories | Mishimoto Automotive

June 03 2015

Event Loop New Retail 2015
MakerBot Support: 2X Nozzle Unclogging

May 27 2015

SUNY New Paltz, MakerBot Innovation Center - One Year Anniversary

May 19 2015

MakerBot Stories | Fixtures for Our Factory — and Yours

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The section of the MakerBot factory where the MakerBot Replicator Z18 gets made didn’t get much overhead light. So fluorescent tubes were hung above each workstation. The assembly-line workers weren’t used to the brightness, however, and some switched them off.

Scott Hraska, manufacturing engineering manager at the Brooklyn factory, knew that good lighting improves worker safety, productivity, and quality control. So he asked an intern to design a rectangular cap to cover the light switch; there are two holes for zip ties to fasten it to the workstation frame.

makerbot-factory-jig-fixture-light-switch-cove

“That’s all it does,” Hraska says of the light switch cover. “But that’s something you can’t buy — and it works really well.”

Factories need lots of things you can’t buy: custom jigs and fixtures that hold parts in place as products are assembled. And all of these fixtures can combine to make your product better and everyone happier: assembly-line workers; cost-conscious executives; customers who tell their colleagues about their experience with your product.

Ordering a custom aluminum fixture can take $10,000 and two or three weeks to get it machined, plus a thorough review and approval process. With a MakerBot Replicator, a company can leverage the 3D modeling knowledge of its engineering team to transform its manufacturing process, becoming more nimble and innovative.

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That’s what MakerBot does in its factory. To set up production lines for the fifth generation of MakerBot Replicator 3D printers, creating jigs and fixtures on earlier models saved “hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Diana Pincus, MakerBot’s plant manager. “Without the Replicator 2 and 2X, we’d still have been able to start the line, but it would have been more costly, less efficient, and a lot more stress.”

3D printers can also create shapes that are too complex to machine. Testing an idea requires a few hours and a few dollars in filament, not a series of meetings to justify a $10,000 expense. For situations that require something more durable than extruded plastic, a 3D printed prototype will help perfect the fixture before a machine shop produces it.

Creating fixtures on a MakerBot Replicator, Pincus says, “is all leading to the goal of world-class manufacturing.” It supports MakerBot’s commitment to lean manufacturing methodologies like 5S, kaizen, and kanban.

makerbot-factory-jig-fixture-kanban-board

It also makes it easier to incorporate employees’ suggestions on how to improve the manufacturing process. At one station, Hraska pointed out a cup that holds screws that a worker had asked for: “Make it in two hours, and the guy is your best friend,” he says.

Before coming to MakerBot, Hraska never worked with a 3D printer before. “Once I realized I could make things, the biggest limitation was the size of the printer,” Hraska says. “And now we have the Z18.” For fixtures that require specialized materials or dissolvable supports, the MakerBot factory has a Fortus 900mc.

Most fixtures, however, can be made on a MakerBot Replicator, like the Raspberry Pi case designed by manufacturing process engineer Sydney Dahl. The case, which also houses a 2.8″ screen, allows MakerBot to replace a $500 tablet with a $100 custom computer.

makerbot-factory-jig-fixture-raspberry-pi-enclosure

This Raspberry Pi case is one of nine things used at the MakerBot factory now collected on Thingiverse. It also includes holsters for drills and barcode scanners, and other attachments to 80/20 and Bosch Rexroth workstation frames. The possibilities are limitless; MakerBot also makes fixtures for wayfinding systems.

makerbot-factory-jigs-fixtures-wayfinding-sign

Let MakerBot help you find your way to better manufacturing.

May 08 2015

MakerBot Mobile 2.1 | Upgrades for iOS and Android

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Managing your projects remotely is easy with the MakerBot family of apps. Now, for the first time, iOS and Android users are getting the same mobile experience thanks to the MakerBot Mobile 2.1 upgrade for iOS and Android, making your 3D printing experience even better.

Download MakerBot Mobile 2.1

Control Your Printer
Through your mobile device, you can now complete the attachment of the MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder to your 3D printer after it’s been mounted. You can view your printer’s status from anywhere in the app, and enable or disable remote monitoring of your 3D printer.

Additionally, there’s more information on 3D printer preferences in areas like cloud services and firmware version.

Get The Details
The recent upgrade to MakerBot Mobile also means information about printer name, statistics (completed prints, total print time and more) are available through your mobile device.

High Quality Graphics
For iOS users operating an iPhone 6 Plus, projects are getting clearer than ever. Retina HD Graphics compatible with the latest iPhone make MakerBot Mobile crisp and visually stunning.

Upgrade MakerBot Mobile 2.1

Feel free to send us your ideas and feedback to thoughts@makerbot.com.

May 07 2015

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