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RepRap the next big thing?

Im interested in the RepRap project but is it me or does it seem to be relatively unknown to most people, even those who would be interested in this sort of thing? Something like RepRap would pave the way for so much possibility with easier and more complex diy projects, once it gets easy and widespread enough for anyone to make we will see some amazing things being done, this is the sort of enabling technology that we've all been looking for!

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Is there anyone near the Santa Monica, California area who would like to get together to try to build 2 reprap mendels? I have enough funding for one entire machine, and that means that you can get, if you buy the plastic, 60% of your machine for free. The projects looks a little daunting to take on by myself through. Of course, we would document the whole process and put up an instructable here on instructables.
servant749 years ago
I have thought of taking one of the home CNC type machines and putting a reprap or fabber head on it to play around with the concept. Has someone else already done this?
Brennn109 years ago
Is this a new fad? In Popular Science they have an item called the "Fabber" which is remarkably similar to the RepRap. This is cool!
There are two open source projects going on. fabathome.org and reprap.org .. There could be others, these are the only to I know anything about. The fab@home folks seem to be pointed to making 'squishy' things from extrude soft stuff, like caulk compound or chocolate. Material is typically fed from some kind of syringe for extrusion. RepRap seems to be focused on making 'hard things'. The typical 'print' head is a heated extruder that has a motor and a drive screw. Really very ingenious. This allows using a continuous feed of plastic filament. The plastics they want to use are totally recyclable. I am expecting them to design a recycling extruder, that would take ground up (or otherwise pulverized) plastic and generate the filament needed for their extruder. Everything in the RepRap design seems to be modular so one part can be replaced without having to do a total tear down/rebuild anytime something changes. As far as being able to go purchase and just use it, I think fab@home is further along. And their device, even 1st generation, looks really need if you have it laser cut! It seems to work pretty well. The DXF files and a vendor is listed on their web site that will cut them for you. RepRap started with the idea that people could make machines that could make themselves for the most part. But it would be an evolutionary process. And sofar it is. At first all the electronics was home brew made on perf or strip boards. Now commercial boards (and other machine pieces) are available. I think in Europe that someone is selling a complete machine kit. But the technology keeps changing and is getting faster, simpler, and cheaper. I started on a homebrew CNC machine years ago that is not running. And I need to complete some project before starting on another. Open source software that works smoothly seems to be a major issue for both projects. There is software, and it works, but learning 3D composition to generate the .STL files is still a bit of a learning curve for me! But it is coming, slowly, like everything I do it seems. :) I hope this helps!
I saw that yesterday, it's really neat.
Pseudoscience (author)  Brennn109 years ago
I don't think fad is the right word, this sort of thing could really change our ideas of the way we can do things though.
I know, I think that time and money should be spent into making products of this nature.
zachninme9 years ago
I think the problem with this is that it is just innificient. Sure, it could re-make itself, but it'd be a ton easier having a piece of acrylic and just hitting it with a laser cutter :P It could make its own PCBs, that would be good. Maybe the belts -- if it can do with enough percision. I think that although this is a great concept -- a better one would be similar to what I outlined -- a fabber made from as much cut-out acrylic as possible.
sam9 years ago
I wouldn't say it very unknown, its been on the Make blog quite a bit..
Pseudoscience (author)  sam9 years ago
I just thought i would have seen more stuff around sites like this about it, i mean this is like the best thing to come along in a long time, its at an early stage i know but it has been in the works since 2005 and with the net the way it is i thought we would of seen an explosion of projects and stuff, not only to make the RepRaps but to make use of them, once the second part happens more people would be motivated to make them in the first place, as when you see a cool instructable that requires or recommends the use of a RepRap you'd likely want or have to make one yourself which would really aid in the spread and progress of it.
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