It seems that 3D Hubs has added support for payment with Bitcoins when you order a 3D print. This has been announced on Twitter on the official account for 3D Hubs, though not much details are yet available. 3D Hubs has partnered with BitPay as a payment processor for the Bitcoin payments and apparently starting today you would be able to order something to be 3D printed for you and pay with Bitcoin for the service. We like the addition of Bitcoin as a payment option and will most likely try it out very soon, what about you?


Today was a day for another upgrade to our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer – replacing the stock plastic X-End gear with an aluminium one that comes with installed bearings. The stock plastic gear works well, but since it is directly in contact with a metal shaft there is a chance that the gear might wear off in time and start giving you trouble. Normally it is recommended to apply some grease from time to time to the shaft in order to help the gear to move smoothly and not to give out some nasty squeaking sounds. This is where the Aluminum Idler kit for Carl’s ALU X-End or Stock X-End from Alm Gear comes into play to address this issue and make the printer more reliable on the long run. This upgrade is for improved long term reliability and to reduce possible future issues and not to improve the quality of prints or something like that. The Aluminium Idler kit is available for $18 USD and comes with Aluminum GT2 16T gear with bearings installed as well as two steel shafts with different length (the shorter one is for the Replicator 2) as you can see on the photo above. It is designed to be used as an upgrade for MakerBot 1, 2, 2X and some clones of these 3D printers.


To replace the stock plastic gear you need to loosen the belt that moves the extruder over the X axis of the 3D printer and in order to do that you need to remove the 4 screws holding the stepper motor that moves the belt. It is relatively quick and easy to do this modification, so ti should not take you more than a few minutes to do it and get back to using the 3D printer again. Again, this is an upgrade that can save you some possible future trouble and not something that will directly result in the improvement of print quality or performance of the device. So don’t expect to see any difference immediately after you install the new gear, unless of course your old one was already causing you some issues as a result from wearing off for example, especially if you left it unmaintained and has never applied some grease to help it run smoother.

For more details about the Aluminum Idler kit for Carl’s ALU X-End or Stock X-End…


Thingiverse and FirstBuild have announced a Countertop Challenge for designing things that can be 3D printed to fill the empty space between your countertop and the bottom of your upper kitchen cabinets. The possibilities are endless: a custom holder for your utensils, task lighting, embedded sensors, or a weight sensing cutting board are just a few examples for ideas. Designs could be purely 3D printed accessories, with no additional components; or devices that are powered by your wall outlets or plugged into WiFi enabled, USB ports.

To participate in the challenge you need to upload your design to both the FirstBuild challenge page and Thingiverse. Use the hashtag #CountertopChallenge for a chance to be featured on the Thingiverse homepage and FirstBuild social media channels. The top 10 entries coming from community votes will be joined by 10 entries selected by the FirstBuild/Thingiverse teams to advance to judging. The combined top 20 entries will be presented to our expert judges panel to select the winners. The winners will be announced on April 20th and you have up until March 14th to submit your entries in the contest.

The first place Winner will be able to choose between receiving a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer (5th Generation) or MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer. The second place Winner will receive a MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer. The third place Winner will receive three spools of MakerBot PLA filament, a Thingiverse t-shirt, and a FirstBuild t-shirt.

Fore more details about the Thingiverse FirstBuild Countertop Challenge…