Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is a RepRap?

This was all started at Bath University in the UK by Adrian Bowyer.  The idea is to have a 3D printer that is capable of replicating most of its own parts.  This allows the machine to "reproduce."  Because of this concept the first machine design was named "Darwin" and the second was named "Mendel."  There is a wealth of information on the web about RepRaps and RepStraps (a printer made by conventional means that can produce RepRaps).  The best starting spot is the main RepRap web site.  Or if you are more interested in RepStraps, Makerbot sells kits that are a reasonable way to get started if you are less into tinkering.

This blog will focus on the construction of three Mendels.  The first was made as a lab Mendel in the Solheim Rapid Prototyping Laboratory @ the University of Washington.  The second and third are being made as personal printers for myself and Marcus, a fellow ME student.  The primary focus will be on my printer with some discussions about the others.

The first Mendel, O’Blue, had its plastic parts built on the labs Stratasys Dimension 768BST.

  Stratasys Dimension 768BST

So it is a first generation RepRap (not offspring of a RepRap).  The other two are also first generation RepRaps, but are half siblings with O'Blue as most of their parts were printed on a newer Dimension uPrint.

Dimension uPrint

  The new Mendels being printed on the uPrint

My next post will briefly discuss the build of O'Blue and some of the lessons we learned that we are applying to the new Mendels.  There are some pictures of O'Blue printing @ UW Engineering Discovery Days located on my other blog.

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