Thursday, June 05, 2008

RepRap 3D printer


Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The Replicating Rapid-prototyper (RepRap) was created by scientists from the University of Bath and is essentially a printer that’s able to build 3D plastic objects, such as door handles. It uses a technique called “additive fabrication” to 'print' thin layers of molten plastic which then solidify. Spray another layer on top of the first, then more layers, and you can make useful objects.

RepRap has even been used to create another version of itself, essentially seeing the original, or parent, machine create a so-called child version. Although 3D printers aren’t a new concept, the team claims that RepRap is the first such machine able to ‘print’ itself.

The researchers based RepRap on open source software and published tutorials online that describe the machine’s design process. Using its plans, the Bath University team claims a motivated amateur could build themselves a RepRap for around £300.

“If the design of an existing object doesn't quite suit their needs, [users] can easily redesign it on their PC and print that out. They can also print out extra RepRap printers to give to their friends,” added Bowyer.
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