What Tooling Do You Have

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Want a RepRap, but can't find printed parts? A RepStrap is right for you! Read on to see how you can make one with the tools you have.


People are more important than tools. Before building a RepStrap to print RepRap parts, check to see if you have a local RepRap User Group. Ideally, they may allow you to borrow a set of Mendel parts, as part of the Loaner Program. Or they'll be happy to sell you a set. Alternatively, you can try the For Sale Forums.

Already have a RepRap?

Excellent! If you have a RepRap, like Mendel, print a set of parts and build a RepRap. This is the ideal case. But if you are reading this, you don't have a RepRap yet.  :D

Table Saw

If you have a table saw, build a WolfStrap. You can also build a wooden Mendel but it is more complicated and a less elegant use of wood.

1X2_Tallcat and 1X2 may be superior to WolfStrap. Please build one of each and tell us which one you liked the most.

--Sebastien Bailard 01:59, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Manual Milling Machine

If you have a milling machine, you could build a Metal Mendel or a metal Darwin. However, you're better off building a WolfStrap out of aluminum.

Or better yet, build a ORE-Bot. This may require metal-lathe operations, and Guy, ORE-Bot's designer, cheerfully says that it's a lot of work.

Else just convert your manual milling machine to a CNC milling machine. (The standard RepRap electronics and stepper motors seem adequate to drive very small milling machines.)

CNC Milling Machine

This is quite a versatile tool, and there are several paths from this machine to a Mendel.

See MillStrap

Drill Press

Build an Eiffel. And then add a Bill of Materials to the page.

The Eiffel

No Drill Press

Build an Eiffel, but use pre-drilled square steel tubing. And then add a Bill of Materials to the page.

Laser Cutter

A lasercut Mendel

If you have a Laser Cutter, build a LaserCut RepRap or a Pirated CupCake. If you don't have one, many local shops which make and engrave trophies, desk ornaments, etc., have moved to laser cutters. Many local universities, too, have laser cutters in their art/architecture/engineering/design departments.

Large CNC Router

If you have a large CNC Router, build an Isaac. (The Isaac is currently the best-documented FlatPack RepStrap design so far.)

Lots of Fischertechnik parts

FTIStrap is a working RepStrap which was almost completely built from fischertechnik parts.

Lots of Meccano parts

In 2005, VikOlliver constructed a PrototypePrinter largely from Meccano and Polymorph. (Meccano parts are sold as "Erector Set" the U.S.)

Lots of LEGO parts

Lego RepStrap and MendeLego both discuss the possibility of building a working RepStrap from mostly LEGO parts. In addition, the NXTStrap project provides a way to create a RepStrap with a single Lego NXT set.

Large Pile of Money

If you have a large pile of money, use a commercial 3D printer to print off a set of Mendel parts.

Welder and Drill Press

If you have access to lots of scrap steel check out this design. StrongStrap.

Hot Wire Cutter

Could be used for trimming or sculpting already printed parts. May be useful for artistic effect for those who use RepRaps for art.

Further reading

  • Category:RepStrap has a long (exhaustive?) list of RepStraps
  • Several of the above techniques open the possibility of a Ship of Theseus scenario: Use what you have available (a small mill or fischertechnik parts or etc.) to build something that acts enough like a Mendel to print out Mendel parts, then print out parts and swap out one part at a time until all that is left is a Mendel.
  • Nearly all the above techniques produce a RepStrap, not a "pure" RepRap. But once you have such a RepStrap, you have the option of ConvertingARepStrapToAFull-blownRepRap.