Well, the new extruder came last week, and I've scanned all the acrylic parts in case I need to replace any of them I can make exact replicas. After hooking it up and doing a heater test, and a filament test, I was set to go. This new extruder is majorly more reliable than the old one, and the power resistors don’t explode as I had a problem with my homebrew attempt. Also found out that my block was much larger which could have explained that problem as well.
Now that I have a reliable extruder I’ve been able to start calibrating the skeinforge settings again. I got a very rough but workable version going, but thanks to makerbot forum user Sideburn, I was able to use his setting profile for the heated bed, and I’ve been able to get some pretty decent results, it may just require a tiny bit more tuning to get it to run a little faster.
On a separate note I’ve completed assembling all the electronics for the Reprap I had started before purchasing the makerbot. I now hope to use the makerbot to print out the support parts so that I can complete the reprap. Hopefully once I have two bots able to run I can get more output perhaps work on an automated print system for at least one of them while I do normal printing on the other machine. Then it’s back to trying to make a CNC mill.