Makerbot: 3D Print Your Own Tech Support

Makerbot seems ahead of the pack and is selling printers hand over foot. Their stock is up 32 million as of today – congrats.  I wonder if this growth is making it difficult for them to support their customers.  Looking on the web it seems like people are happy with makerbot, but so far my experience has been less then stellar.

I have been excited about the possibilities of 3D printing in the classroom. This year our design department at lcad finally has the funds to buy a 3d printer.  I had to choose between airwolf and makerbot. As a designer I was persuaded by makerbot’s minimal logo, refined looking printer and slick website.  They have a media temple vibe about them and I have been a long time happy customer of media temple.

Our design students at LCAD have been waiting to get their hands on this printer and It is my job to get it running for them before classes start.  Getting a printing protocol in place before classes start is very important.

Printer Arrives:


There are a couple choices for default test prints – the chain was the shortest amount of time at 8 min.

Fire it up and output the first print – 8 min in so far so good. I have printed the default test chain.

Rough Seas Ahead…

Try to make a second print “HOMING ERROR” – the belt detaches.  It appears that the belt was not attached correctly to the printhead.

broken makerbot replicator

someone missed this in assembly

I call tech support right away.  I explain after the 8 min test print the belt detached.  Since my printer has spend about 20 minutes out of the box tech support told me that they would ship us a brand new printer.   It took me about 20 min to pack it back up and drive to UPS. The replicator was in my possession for half a day.

MB TECH - Once I receive an in-transit notification from UPS, I’ll give the go ahead to shipping to send out your replacement.

waiting… for the replacement printer to arrive

One week Later….

MB TECH emails me :

I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that we’ve received your printer here at MakerBot. Unfortunately, the request I put through when we last spoke was only approved as a repair, as opposed to an exchange. I’m incredibly sorry for this confusion. Within the last week, we’ve had an unforeseen shift in procedure relating to the repair and replacement of broken printers, and your exchange fell right in the middle of that shift.

I guess this shift occurred between when I hung up the phone and 20 minutes later was dropping the printer off at UPS.  If your going to repair instead of replace – why not call me and let me know.

Another week Later….

Printer shows up from being repaired instead of replaced as promised.

Odd – my brand new printhead looks terrible – what did they do..


messy replicator extruder that is not ours.

Odd they didn’t send me back my brand new spool of filament.  How am I gong to print.


makerbot forgot items.

Why did they make 26 print attempts over 80 hours to fix our new makerbot.


i only printed 1 print – this is not our printer.

I see the problem.  This makerbots serial number does not match mine…

Makerbot has shipped me someone else’s printer. Hey, If you are missing your makerbot we have your printer.  Also – sorry to hear your Replicator broke after 17 complete prints.


serial numbers mismatch – this is for sure not our replicator printer. Someone messed up.


I called today on a friday morning and makerbot tech support is not taking calls for the day.   I did however talk to sales and gave them my email and said someone needs to contact me.

I got this get this email from tech support letter in the day.

MB TECH : how did you determine that this was not your printer?  I know that this experience with MakerBot has failed to meet your expectations. I hope that we can have a chance to speak on Monday and get you to a better place.

I guess I can wait another few days to see how this will be resolved.  Printing on a functional printer would put me in a better place.  I’ll update this if things get resolved.


Class Clown Academy

Mixtus has just launched a new iPad app called Class Clown Academy for author Steven Moore - co-founded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  The Class Clown Academy is for current and future class clowns of all ages.  In this app you can Compose a song with Whoopie Cushions, Create Creatures and Explosions in the Science lab, Throw your food around in the Cafeteria and much more.

Miley Cyrus World Tour Motion Graphics with John K.


right to left: Alex, John K, Gabe, and myself at John K’s House.

working on animation for John K in After Effects

working on animation for John K in After Effects

I got to work with famous cartoonist John K. on Miley Cyrus 2014 Bangerz Tour. John K created the cartoon Ren and Stimpy and the animation studio Spumco.  I spent many late hours working with john K at his home in the valley.  I also got to work work with two amazing animators ( Gabe and Alex ) from the Laguna College of Art and Design.  The project contained lots of animation with a very quick turnaround to be ready for Miley’s opening date in Canada.


Working in after Effects at John K’s dining room table.



crowd at the staples center for miley cyrus.



Here is a shot of the piece behind Miley on the Big Screen.

sneak peek at the wireframe of what we dubbed "the toy" aka battery pack.

sneak peek at the wireframe of what we dubbed “the toy” aka battery pack.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 11.51.48 AM

frame grab from the bangers tour

frame grab from the bangers tour


I did not get to go to the concert, but I found a fan’s video online that shows the animation. It is a really shaky video, but it give you an idea about it what looks like during the show. Once the tour is over i’ll post the final piece on in the motion section of my site.