Makerbot Mousetrap Challenge: July Update

Hello Makerbotters and curious folk. Here’s a well deserved update for the “Mouse Get!” Challenge I posted.. er.. ages ago.
To recap for those unaware: the challenge was to create a printable, live-catching mousetrap that could be made with a Makerbot. That worked. I offered $25 for the winning design. Makerbot Industries added an optional condition that the winning trap be Open-Source, which was an obvious condition that I somehow forgot (d’oh), and awesomely added a Teeshirt to the prize.

Of course as I now realise, it was foolish to undertake such a challenge without more conditions at this stage in personal-scale 3D printing. I should have asked that prints be no larger/longer than X, or that only the first three entries would be considered. Or that I could curate the submissions and pick three!

I say this because, printing is not yet foolproof and easy. No sooner had I posted the challenge in fact, than I suffered the worst breakdown I’ve yet had and needed a replacement plastruder (which works really great, thankfully.. but is now showing signs of wear also! O_o). Long prints were prone to failure if the bot did anything untoward, wasting perhaps an hour’s printing. Plastic requirements were high, and I needed to order some more after the batch I had gotten from a local supplier turned out to be a dud. SD cards died and wasted time, computers died and wasted time, and software/firmware issues bugged me along the way.

All of this, and I also had a wedding (mine!) to experience, a Honeymoon to enjoy, and a Masters project/thesis to do (ongoing! :( ).
When I have had time to Makerbot, I have endeavoured to print at least one Mousetrap each time, although I have had other makerbotting responsibilities such as a long-promised repair job at work and some spare insulator retainers for my friends at the Tog Hackerspace. After printing out a full printruder that is, just in case.

Those feeling let down by the pace can rest assured that I am frustrated also. But, it’s not all bad. I have printed the Claptrap, and await further instruction from WorldGnat before I test it (because I don’t know how he intended it to be used). I have printed the Tower Bridge trap from Starno, and it’s in front of me now. I’ll share a picture here. It’s awesome. I printed and tested the Merry-Go-Round trap, which sadly didn’t work (though I reckon with a redesign, it would!). And as I write this, I am preparing to try printing the next trap in full: The Mouse Motel from TeamTeamUSA.

Sorry again, as I’ve been saying for too long. I can’t wait to be done printing these traps and testing them. The designs are really amazing, even when they don’t work. They show imagination and resourcefulness that inspires me in my own designs, and I consider each a victory even when no captive mouse results.