The MakerBot, from MakerBot Industries, is one of the oldest kit-sold reprap-related 3D printers. The original CupCake sold over 2500 units, and soon the first thousand Thing-o-Matics will have left the factory.

The MakerBot ToM is constructed from a laser cut wooden housing. It uses belt drive systems for the horizontal axes, and a treaded rod drive system for the vertical axis. The extruder head, responsible for delivering the right amount of plastic at the right time, is driven by a high-torque stepper motor.

One nice feature of the ToM is its heated, automatic build platform. The heating means that the print quality is higher, while the automatic part means that it can start a new print without human intervention. This is possible, as the finalized build is removed from the build platform using a conveyor belt system.

The ToM kit comes with batteries included. The PSU, basic tools, electronics, mechanics – even some plastic to start printing. The build instructions are easy to follow (we assembled ours in just three nights) and available on-line if you want to read before you buy.

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