Friday, 21 May 2010

RepRap home 3D printing

I get carried away when I watch videos and read articles about 3D printing, and often fantasize about having my own 3D printer at home. Today I heard about the RepRap project, which aims to make a 3D printer that can print most of its own replacement parts, thereby allowing you to print printers. One of the first things that came to mind was updates.

With software, we have gotten used to the download-and-install process for handling updates, but with an ongoing hardware project, things get more complicated. Since RepRap printers make their own replacement parts and represent an ongoing project too, it would be possible to have them download updated specs from the internet and print out the new parts, but you would have to know how to attach them yourself. That's a bit more trouble than software patching.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm not sure exactly what percentage of its own parts a RepRap can print.
PPS - If it's just the plastic bits holding the metal together, it's not much.


Charles said...

I have heard of this project. Pretty freakin' cool idea. The guys working on it must be geniuses. If you find out what their threshold for acceptable "outside parts" is, i'd be curious.

John said...

Judging from the specs of their version 2 printer, "Mendel" and the typical density of PLA printer goop, I'd say the self-replicable percentage (by weight) is a disappointing 19%.

Still, a machine that can make 19% of its own replacement parts is not so bad.

Charles said...

im holding out for the self-replicating iPhone

John said...

You're more likely to see downloadable iPhone plans for your home 3D printer. Then you're likely to see an Apple lawsuit.