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Hive13 CNC Projects
CNC Router Build, DIY CNC Router, Gigabot, Hive13 CNC Projects, Hive13 Stepper Motor Driver Board, Inkjet Eggbot, MakerBot, Mendel, Plasma CNC Cutter, Shapeoko CNC Router
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GigaBot Printer.jpg
Owner/Loaner: Hive13
Hive13 Asset Tag: None
Make/Model: GigaBot (google)
Arrival Date: Jan 2014
Does it work?: No
Certification Needed?: Yes
Floorplan: 1A

About this Item

The Gigabot is a beastly printer with an eight cubic foot build area (2'x2'x2').

We were initially loaned this item from Virtual Print Labs. After a year they approached us about buying it and we subsequently purchased it for $2k at the February_17,_2015 meeting.

Multiple members have contributed time and money to fixing and upgrading Gigabot over the last few years (including: Ryan H, Bill S., Jim S, Lorin P.....)

It currently has a 3mm filament extruder and no heated build platform or heated envelope. This limits the print material to PLA.


  • Printing is currently down, maintenance in progress. There are some sample pieces floating around the hive.
  • If you would like to use the Gigabot, please talk to a current user (Bill S, Mike H, others?) to help setup your first print
  • Gigabot is running Marlin firmware and can be controlled by the standard Gcode generated by Repetier etc.
  • If you are already familiar with Repetier:
    • You can find a copy of the Slic3r config on Hubuntu in /mnt/storage/GigaBot/gigabotconfig.ini
    • For convenience, the Slic3r config is also included here: Gigabot.ini
    • Note one issue with this Slic3r file: heated bed should be 0C (no bed) rather than 5C.
    • These settings do not include support, so need to modify if your print has severe overhangs.
    • 3D workstation computer in Fab Lab has repetier with printer and Slic3r settings loaded correctly for Gigabot.
  • Currently, the only way to print on the Gigabot is via the SD card slot--should be FAT16 formatted.

Work Records

  • A heated build plate is on order. Once installed it will allow membership access to printing with a large supply of ABS. (Expected: Jan 2014 by Ivan)
  • The GigaBot is down for repairs. Pending thermocouple replacement and diagnostics. (12/13/14 by Ivan)
    • The thermistor was drilled out and replaced. The heater was heating element was tested. Reassembly is complete, waiting on firmware from RE3D.
    • Firmware link is broken. Email sent.
    • Jim found the firmware was backup, it has been installed. The X & Y axis needed inverted via boolean in firmware.
    • The extruder is currently not responding, swapped stepper driver, no change.
    • Extruder wiring looks fine and appears connected, still looking for a firmware setting. (12/16/14 by Ivan)
  • A workstation class pc has been setup for CAD modeling and controlling the printer. (Feb 2014 by Ian)
  • Currently, the only way to print on the Gigabot is via the SD card slot--need to fix USB port.
    • Update: A new board has been installed, the USB port works but we may need a long USB cable. USB Type is mini. (12/13/14 by Ivan)
  • This item needs a more permanent work surface so that Bill and others can access it with the printer being up off of the floor (Expected Feb 2014 by Ryan).
    • Update: Gigabot has a usable surface in the fab lab (a table with legs removed)--may still upgrade to a welded platform in future.
  • The Gigabot power supply failed, and needs to be replaced. (3/12/14)
    • Update: Bill replaced the power supply, it is alive again! (3/25/2014)
  • Inductive Z sensor:
    • The 12 V sensor must be powered 12v from the power supply (not the azteeg board)
    • Requires current limiting - 470 Ohm R is currently soldered to wire and heat shrunk on.
    • Lorin built a custom level shifter to convert between 12V low impedance to 5V high impedance. Simple NPN BJT biased carefully. It worked.
    • Azteeg board fried due to ESD. Turns out this is not uncommon...
    • Azteeg X3 board diagram shown at right. Shift board will send +5V high when bed is homed. Wire +5V output of shift board to Z min accordingly. Please consult literature on RE3D if this looks confusing to you. NOTE: Azteeg is no longer being used. This printer is being switched to RAMPS controller.
  • 10/15 - Upgrade to RAMPS controller
    • We agreed to replace azteeg with RAMPS controller. Bill donated a RAMPS board. Documentation on RAMPS is here [1]
    • Ramps controller is being adapted and configured for Gigabot:
      • Pololu high current modules MUST be used, not standard modules included with RAMPS 1.5A+ rating. Ours have heatsinks and will also be fan cooled.
      • AD8495 thermocouple board must be installed (RAMPS default is thermistor - this will adapt). DaveB has one (not at Hive yet because Lorin is busy / lazy and hasn't driven out to get it).
      • Optoisolators are being used on inputs from external sensors, like Z-probe. Lorin is adding TI MCT2 [2] where needed.
      • Schottky diodes and diode clamp at any floating supplies may be needed to prevent problems associated with gigabot's power supply that have led to over voltage in past.
      • 11/15 - TO DO:
        • RAMPS board tested with high current Pololu. WORKS
        • Optoisolator circuit. DONE.
        • Install AD8495 board.
        • Replace PTC's with standard fuses (auto type)
        • Calibrate and configure Marlin.
        • Install and test in Gigabot.
        • Replace cable tracks (they are too small) with easy to thread larger tracks. As long as we're wiring, let's eliminate this proverbial PITA.


The GigaBot uses a 3mm PLA Filament. Amazon has some for $33/roll, but, my guess is that you could probably find them cheaper online or in person.

  • several colors of PLA (black, clear, red)are available for printing at the Hive thanks to Bill. Filament use is currently free for members to make small prints, but if more filament starts being used we should institute a payment system (Mike 3/30/14)