GigaBot Upgrades?

Hi All,

I know we have been talking about GigaBot upgrades for a while… I believe we have a new printing surface ready to install, but what is the status on a heated build plate? I believe that cost was approved? I’m willing to spearhead this upgrade! I’m looking to print large mold frames and possibly test-masters of my light shell, with them being nearly a foot in diameter they would benefit from a heated build plate, plus a gain access to ALL the abs! :slight_smile:

See y’all this evening!
Also if anyone has experience working with RTV/Silicon molds… we should talk!

Besides upgrading, the gigabot currently needs some fixing. I’ve been experiencing weird print fails for at least the last month, where it starts fine but after a few hours extrusion thins out or stops entirely. Bill was able to diagnose it with an infrared thermometer after the last meeting: the extruder is randomly dropping its temperature, which is not reflected on the gigabot display. Most likely either the thermistor is bad or the azteeg board is bad…

There’s been some discussion how to proceed but I don’t think any definite decisions yet. This could be an opportunity to do further upgrades to the electronics such as installing raspberry pi with octoprint. I’d be in favor of just going ahead with a new azteeg for now since the USB port is fried anyway.

I’ve done RTV molds exactly once, not sure if that counts as “experience” :wink:


We did approve funds to buy the Gigabot heated build platform kit, and I had been planning on buying the kit. Then life happened (Riding the rollercoaster of attempting to buy a shortsale house) and I honestly forgot.

If someone would like to take point on this, the link to the kit is:

Make sure you buy the 110V version of the kit and not the 220V version.

Make sure you update here before you buy the kit, just to make sure we don’t have multiple people trying to take over this.

Hmm, I didn’t see any electrical properties on their webpage… There was also concern about the amperage that this would draw… and the power/breaker constraints at the Hive…
Anyone know how many amps will this pull? And if that’s reasonable for that room or UPS setup?

As for the temp issue… I’m guessing the sensors are far cheaper than the controller… should we start there?

We ( Me and Ryan) also tried to print part for the shapoko and we encounter the same issues. I am also in favor of just replace the existing board. It is always easier to upgrade a working machine than a broken one.

If I well understand what Mike said, we also need to order an azteeg board too.


Thermistors are cheap. Ideally we want an exact replacement but I haven’t been able to find the part ID on gigabot’s website. Maybe I’ll contact them. If the replacement doesn’t match, it should be calibrated in the gigabot firmware…which we can’t do without a working USB port. I guess my 2cents is, it would be nice to replace the board either way.


On the website, it says that it is thermocouple input and not thermistor. If it is thermocouple, the most common one are K type and it is easy to find out because each type has a given couple of color (standard).


So during and after the meeting I gathered some more information on the Gigabit situation…


- Jon was wondering about the electrical demands of the heater, we might consider converting to 240v to ensure ample power availability.

  • The heater appears to be 800W… is that a lot? Enough to warrant 240v? Or might we be safe with our current 20a 120v options?


  • With 800 watts heating, we should consider an enclosure… My thought was a closet! The thing is large enough to warrant it!
  • This will also help prevent shrinking ABS parts from drafts.

Temp Issue:

  • If we want to replace the parts we can,
  • Julian agreed that it could also be the wiring, but we never got a chance to look into this further.

Let me know if anyone wants to schedule an investigation evening… not sure how we might test/check the wiring but willing to find out!

Alright if the Gigabot stays 120v, it will draw unto 8amps. Does that warrant 240v?


- Jon was wondering about the electrical demands of the heater, we might consider converting to 240v to ensure ample power availability.

  • With the heater added, the Gigabit will draw up to 8 amps.
  • As I understand it, there is a dedicated 20amp plug near the Gigabit currently, while the other plugs in the room have been finicky?


  • With 800 watts heating, we should consider an enclosure… My thought was a closet! The thing is large enough to warrant it!
  • This will also help prevent shrinking ABS parts from drafts.

Temp Issue:

most circuits are 120V @ 20A. Regardless of whether the gigabot is on 120V or 240V, you’re going to have to pay attention to where circuits and capacity is available. The Hive is perpetually low on power distribution. This is not a new challenge. Putting an additional 8A of power draw into the fab lab will likely require circuit reallocation. I don’t see it happening reliably as things stand. The last thing anyone needs is for the heated bed to trip a breaker in the middle of printing. Half functioning stuff is going to be as bad/worse than non-functioning stuff

The thermistor used in this board seems to be a 100K NTC from EPCOS. At 210 °C (sorry I am not using the Fahrenheit scale…), the resistor should around 410 Ohms. It is easy to hook up a multimeter and check if we get this value when printing.

The insulation on this kind of wire is sometimes very stiff to sustain the heat. Over time, the insulation could crack and some issues start to happen. The price for two NTC is $5 on the panucatt website when you order it with the board.

For the heated bed, if it’s 800 watts, you will have the 8.6 Amps on you electric line either way. If you want to order the 240 V model you need to add a transformer to elevate the voltage. You will have less current on the secondary side ( x0.45 less) but the same current on the primary side that is connected on the electrical grid.


I think the lack of generally available 240 would tend to tip the scales in favor of keeping it 110, despite the lower amperage draw on 240. Combine that with the relative ease of running/extending 110 circuits versus running or extending 240 circuits and the case is clear.

If I well understand The hive has two different electrical network. A 110 Volts one and a 240 Volts one, am I right?
If so, using a 240 volts heated bed could work if it is only resistor inside. I am pretty sure the 240 V model is dedicated to the European/Asian market


The issue is that the nearest 220v drop (that I would trust for anything over a minimal amperage draw) is in the middle of the woodworking area. We would need to extend that all the way to the fab lab.

Also, I thought during the last couple electrical upgrades we ran some dedicated 110v circuits to the fab lab, but I could be wrong on that point.

I mentioned using 220V to Julien as a possible good idea. If we need to run a new drop to the fab lab it may be a good idea to run 220V since we get almost double the power on the same line (of course we can also just run 220V to the room and split it from there). Most of the equipment that is place in that room is easy enough to switch to 220V if we want to put more stuff on that outlet.

Right now the laser cutter and its computers is plugged in to the 20A dedicated outlet in the fab lab. Since we no longer have the AC on we can switch the laser cutter stuff back to its old outlet and run the gigabot on the 20A outlet. This will probably work well enough until summer comes around, but that is half assing it and won’t go well come summer. :slight_smile:

If we need to pay someone to run new lines to the fab lab AND metal working area (fix that room for now while we are at it!) I would be a happy person and I’m sure everyone else would be happier too. We had 6 outlets run by an electrician previously and I think it was around $1700.

Alright so between adding the heated bed, and the possibility of additional printers… It seems like there is a clear need for an additional 20A circuit… I agree with Dave that keeping it 120v keeps things more accessible and versatile for future rearrangements.

Paul, your right there is already a dedicated 20A circuit, but I think everything in the FAB Lab got moved to that one plugin except the A/C unit. So the heated bed may not cause issues now but it will in the summer, without any additional equipment.

Where’s Bill? :smiley: I’d be curious as to his thoughts on the 120/240v question

Gigabot Upgrade Parts:

  • Azteeg X3 w/Thermistors, shipped: $122.79

  • Gigabot Heated Bed retro fit , shipped: $613.61
    Total: $736.40

The heated bed will allow members to print with ABS filament, which there is a good supply of free stock. The heated bed will also enable members to print large objects with much less potential for warping or lifting from the build plate.

The Azteeg X3 and replacement thermistors will help to or fix the current printing issue, but also enable new firmware to be loaded onto the board via USB. The USB port is broken on the current controller board.

Electric work is on the todo list, does anyone have any references for electricians?
We plan to have a few 20amp drops installed through out the Hive.
Suggestions where?
Over the summer, I frequently found, and myself blew the breaker for the electronics workstation. The A/C plus a heat gun would throw the breaker.

I can probably repair the USB jack on the board we have. Once we have a replacement, I’ll be glad to tackle it so that I won’t feel guilty if I break it worse. Put the old one in my locker once it has been replaced and send me an email.

I think electrical should be a separate discussion considering how many areas of the hive perpetually suffer from power issues.


  • Will do Dave!

Also, I’ll be back late Tuesday night, Dec. 2, so I’ll be out for two weeks! If this new/total expenditure could get re-approved that would be great! I’ll try to get the parts during the first week of Dec.

Happy T-Day!