Our colleague Hephaestus, has already embarked on his 3D printer voyage, and so we thought it time to come on board. Being advocates of Open Source, what better way to start than RepRap. RepRap takes the form of an almost free desktop 3D printer capable of printing plastic objects. Since many parts of RepRap are made from plastic and RepRap prints those parts, RepRap self-replicates by making a kit of itself – a kit that anyone can assemble given time and materials. It also means that – if you’ve got a RepRap – you can print lots of useful stuff, and you can print another RepRap for a friend…
RepRap is about making self-replicating machines, and making them freely available for the benefit of everyone, by using 3D printing to do this. However, if you have other technologies that can copy themselves and that can be made freely available to all, then this is the place for you too.
Reprap.org is a community project, which means you are welcome to edit most pages on the site, or better yet, create new pages of your own. Their community portal and New Development pages have more information on how to get involved. There are links below and on the left to explore the site contents. You’ll find some content translated into other languages.
RepRap was the first of the low-cost 3D printers, and the RepRap Project started the open-source 3D printer revolution.
Image Above: Rep Rap Version I: Darwin 3d printer. RepRap 1.0 “Darwin” is a rapid prototyping machine that is capable of making the majority of its own component parts.
- A fairly modern computer
- Decent graphics card (ATI / NVidia) 64MB+
- Recommended at least 512MB of RAM
- For the older PIC-based RepRap a serial port or USB <-> Serial converter
- Ubuntu/Linux preferred, but OSX and Windows also work.
Image Above: RepRap MendelMax. MendelMax is a new Open Source RepRap 3d printer designed by Maxbots. It is a true reprap, using printed brackets, but instead of using threaded rod for the structural elements it uses inexpensive aluminum extrusions. This gives a huge increase in rigidity for a minimal extra cost (Self sourcing will cost about $80 more than a standard Prusa when purchased from the recommended suppliers). The required extrusions are available world wide from a variety of suppliers.
MendelMax is based on the Prusa Mendel model, and keeps its best parts.
In addition to the increased rigidity, the printer is much easier to assemble than a standard Prusa. Even an inexperienced builder should have no trouble building the whole frame in an evening, two at most. And along with the easy assembly comes easy hackability. Almost any part on the bot can be removed with just a few screws, so swapping out literally any part on the bot is now a trivial operation.
RepRap MendelPro Printing Another RepRap.
By the way, the background music is Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion.