Constructing a RepRap: Part 1

About: I'm a web developer who currently lives in Iowa. I love me some technology, and I dream of the day when I can have a brain computer interface. Turn-ons include robot talk, electronics porn (oh yeah, take o...

RepRap stands for Replicating Rapid Prototyper and is also the name of the group aiming to create an open source machine that can do just that. Find out more at This is our (Me, Scott, and Joel) experience creating that machine.

Step 1: Project Planning

The very first thing we decided to do was create the frame. Wood is cheap and plentiful, and since we scavenged a bunch of loft wood from the dorms last we had tons. We needed to decide on how our design would be set up. After drawing up some pictures, and discussing it for a while, we decided to split the stages into two parts. The top of the machine would be the X stage which would hold the print head, and the bottom part would hold the YZ stage.

Our linear stages would be using smooth rod scavenged from a broken copy machine to hold the stages. We made the inner dimensions of our frame the same as our rods, although now I would suggest making them an inch or so smaller so you dont need to add extra boards to mount the rods on. As for height its not too important, but we used something like 3 feet.

Step 2: Build the Frame

First we cut four boards to length for the vertical posts, then we cut 8 boards for the sides. We essentially just created a box frame. Assemble the side boards into two rectangles, making sure that you keep them square. Next, attach the vertical boards on the inside of each rectangle. Keep making sure that your boards are square... this will really help things out later. Finally attach the second rectangle to the assembly, and you will be nearly done. Once we had it assembled, it was a bit wobbly, so we added diagonal cross bracers. After that it was rock solid and very sturdy.

Next, you will want to mount some boards where you want the YZ stage to go. Mount this about halfway up the frame, as they will protrude below the mount when the Z stage is all the way down. You can always adjust the height once you get the whole thing assembled.

If you want, you can optionally pimp out your lovely box with some wheels to help you move it around. These simply get screwed to the bottom of the posts and definitely give your RepRap some street cred.

Now you have the frame assembled, and its time to create the linear stages!



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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago

    wow... any follow up?


    Shouldn't this be called a RepStrap considering the lack of printed materials?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    RepRap is a real clever idea that they're pioneering at the University of Bath. The idea comes from rapid prototypers (those 3D printer things that make objects by adding layers together). The concept is about making an entire rapid prototyper with the machine, essentially cloning itself. This would allow you to essentially duplicate one yourself for only the cost of power and materials, and then use it to make whatever else you want (as long as it's plastic). If there was one in each home, then everyone could make alot of things they'd normally buy which could result in all sorts of economical breakdown, but it's still a neat idea. I saw some of the RepRap stuff but didn't get a chance to work on it when I was in the department. I've never heard of a third-party trying it out though, so I'd be very interested to hear how it works out. I'd love a rapid prototyper.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I have never seen a reprap done with wood, but hats off. The simpler materials, the better. Then we will all be building things at home again.

    Have a good one,
    Rapid Prototyping Info