Posts Tagged ‘MakerBot Replicator 2

If you have a 3D printer working with thermoplastics such as ABS and PLA then you have probably noticed that the device makes strange electronic noises that are different when printing various things. These noises are produced by the stepper motors that move the extruder of the 3D printer on the different axes, but you might not be aware of the fact that you can actually take advantage of this “feature” and actually use it to play music. We have tinkered a bit with some tools that are readily available and have managed to make our Makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer play the Imperial March theme from Star Wars pretty decently as you can see on the embedded video above. We are also going to tell you how we have managed to do that and point you to the tools you need to actually make your Replicator 2 or another 3D printer play various music.

The purpose of the whole process is to make a special programming for the 3D printer that takes advantage of the noise produced by the stepper motors when they move in order to recreate music. You need a MIDI file as a source with the music that you will be converting to be played on the 3D printer and with the help of the MIDI-to-CNC open source Python script from Rickard Dahlstrand to convert the MIDI music file to Gcode format that is understandable by many 3D printers. In order to make our Makerbot Replicator 2 printer play the file however we also needed to convert the Gcode file into X3G one and for that we have used the GPX gcode to x3g converter. The result is quite nice and does not take a lot of time once you get the hang of things you can experiment with different music pieces as long as you have them available in MIDI format. Do note that the MIDI-to-CNC tool is designed to actually print something while the 3D printer is playing music, but the additional conversion to make it work on the Replicator 2 3D printer is not extruding filament, just playing music.


Time for another upgrade to our MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer, this time we have decided to install aluminum arm stiffeners in order to help eliminate sagging of the build plate and reduce the lateral build plate vibration and movement during printing. The upgrade parts we are installing are the Aluminum Arm Stiffeners from Performance 3-d. The installation kit we got is designed to fit multiple 3D printers and it includes pretty much all things to mount it including screws and a drilling tool that is partly 3D printed. These Aluminum Arm Stiffeners are designed to be fitted as an upgrade on Makerbot Replicator 1, Replicator 2, Replicator 2X, Flashforge Creator, and Wanhao Duplicator 4, Duplicator 4X.

The arm stiffeners are relatively easy to install and it should not take a lot of time, then you need to spend some time tweaking things up before finally tightening them – try moving the build platform up and down over the Z axis to make sure that everything is fine. The results after installing the upgrade – less problems with failed or not that good looking 3D prints as with other upgrades that we have already installed, but still we do still have some issues from time to time. In general however after installing each new upgrade to our 3D printer we are getting less and less problems after that, so there is definitely an improvement, either small or big.