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Building the RapMan firmware might require a Microsoft Windows based setup. The following is tested in a Windows XP running through VirtualBox on Kubuntu.

Setting up the development environment

Getting a working IDE: MPLAB

  • Install MPLAB as follows:
    • Download MPLAB from here or zip.
    • Run the installer. You can install it with the default settings.
    • When asked: You don't need to install the HI TECH C Compiler too.
  • Get SVN tools or use a tarball (extract with 7-zip or similar software)

Getting Erik's unofficial RapMan Development tree

  • Check out this repository https://reprap.svn.sourceforge.net/../users/erik/OpenRapMan/EriksBranch/bfb-firmware-dev3. You can do this by creating a folder from windows explorer and right-clicking "Check out a repository". Put the aforementioned URL in the box and proceed with checking it out.
  • Open the "bfb-firmware-dev.mcp" MPLAB Project file. This will start MPLAB.
  • Before you change files, test if it compiles now.
    • Use: "Build all" to build the file. You can flash the firmware using the HIDBootLoader.exe included in the same folder. Browse to find the .hex file that has a recent modification timestamp. If the .hex file is older, something has gone wrong with your compilation process!

Modified firmware

If you have changes, send them (.diff files are best) to [email protected] for inclusion in this openRapMan branch.


  • Erik: Automatic homing can be skipped, manual homing is possible. Press the right key (X+) after opening a file. After releasing the key you are in manual home mode. Put the machine in the home position manually. Press the 'Esc' key to proceed with the print job. This is very useful

Using modified versions

We cannot, and will not provide any guarantee that this will work satisfactory. 
Moreover, if damage to your board, machine or if it sets your house on fire, you 
tried this experimental feature at your own risk.
Warning: The following may make your BfB unusable. If you upload an incorrect 
.hex file, the bootloader may be overwritten. A PICKIT2 or other external 
programming tool is needed to flash the chip, because it cannot self-program

You can upload a new version to your board with the HIDBootloader.exe in the same directory. Connect your BitsFromBytes electronics through USB, while it is still powered off. Power it on while holding the Down (Y+) key. You should see a bootloader/USB logo. Run the HIDBootloader.exe file. Select the .hex file with an updated timestamp (if it doesn't exist, the compile failed!).

Proposed Modifications

  • USB/Serial support
  • Rescale the X/Y/Z-axis. For example, to compensate for a change in gear size.
  • Auto calibration (how much steps does it take to get back to the limit switch, self-determine backlash) Note: Can already be done with the current G-codes
  • Your modifications! Add the proposal, or better, add the features. Use the discussion feature to discuss proposals.
  • Multi-Material support Note: not a firmware-feature
  • Dual/Parallel printing (two extruders mounted at an offset printing the same object) Note: dual and tripple toolheads already supported in Versin 3.3-boards and Firmware 2.8, G-codes not published yet.
  • support for G-codes for relative movements (for milling)
  • allow movements-rates below the current minimum (for milling)


It should compile. If it doesn't, check the includes: Projects -> Build Options... -> Project. Go to the tab "Directories". Choose: show directories for "Include search path". Check if these are indeed the path where these files can be found. "MPLAB C32" is not the same as "MPLAB C32 [bSuite[/b]". Microchip Inc. has changed the default installation paths apparently.

-- Erik de Bruijn