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Maria P

Print Team Leader

The Intentions of RepRap - September 11, 2012 Blog 2

Adrian Bowyer started the RepRap Project with the intention of creating a machine that could be created, used, and improved by anyone. He intended to to have it ultimately reach out into every house hold and achieve the goal of a ‘self-replicating universal constructor.’ I think that this is a feasible goal. Over just five years (the first design being released in 2007), RepRap machines have become more and more user-friendly and easier to assemble and operate. I do not think that they are at the point yet where everyone, even those without mechanical or electronic experience, can use them comfortably. But it is definitely a possibly for the designs and instructions to get to that point. Therefore, the first thing that needs to be done to get to this point is to create clearer step-by-step instructions for creating a 3D Printer. There are numerous blue prints available online, but none are clear or at an elementary level for everyone to understand. Another problem with the system is maintenance. The machines now are still not very reliable and tend to frequently run into small issues where they need to be fixed, from the x-axis shifting to the extruder tip not heating up. As the designs continue to get refined, I feel that these problems will lessen and it will get to a point where they are reliable enough for the common household. Adrian Bowyer had the idea that if these machines do become a staple in every household, there would be “wealth without money.”

“Wealth without money” means that each house hold would be able to provide themselves with the necessities of living. This would remove the need for purchased goods and thereafter, money. In my opinion, these machines, with continuing improvement, could actually live up to this standard. One of the biggest problems with this idea is the technical complexity of the printers. A member from each household would have to be trained in the maintenance and trouble-shooting of the machines. The learning curve to use them is not steep, which makes this idea possible. As the designs for RepRaps continue to evolve, I think we will get to a point where they are simplified, reliable, and ready to be produced for and in every household. Common useful products that these machines can make and be used in everyday life are cups, plates, bottle openers, measuring spoons, and more.

The future of 3D Replicating Prototypers is impossible to predict. After only five years, the community has evolved the looks and ability of the printers. Some projects being worked on that are sure to become a reality in the future are dual-color extruders, extruding with food materials like sugar or chocolate, and better software to produce g-code. More scenarios that I can envision are the use of printers to produce building models for architects, the ability to print metal pieces, an increase in the size and sped of the printers, and simplification of the software and machine for non-technical consumers to use it. Because this entire project is open-source, there is incredible potential for collaboration, discovery, and improvement in the RepRap Project. - September 4, 2012 Blog 1

Thingiverse is a website created by MakerBot Industries as a place for people to post virtual 3D designs they made. From these digital designs, real life objects can be made using 3D printers. Similar to the rest of the RepRap resources, this website is open source. There are thousands of designs available to everyone via the GNU General Public License or Creative Commons licenses. Heres a list of some designs found on Thingiverse:

1. Useful- Measuring Spoons

These are easy to print out and can be used in the kitchen whenever you are cooking! They come in 2 tsp and 4 tsp sizes, but can be scaled to what ever you need.

2. Artistic - Pretty Rose

This is a rose that was designed by a user for his girlfriend. It is printed in parts and then assembled to a pretty little rose.

3. Pointless - Robohamster

In this design, an odd combination of a robot and hamster is modeled. It can sit on a table, but can't do much more than that and so it is somewhat useless except for entertainment purposes.

4. Funny - Rooster Ring

This is a fashionable ring that can only be worn on special occasions. It projects a unique personality and is a great conversation starter!

5. Weird - Used Canaries

This is a design of a dead canary that can possible be used as a decoration of some sort. The sculpture gives a weird vibe with X's over the eyes of the birds.