Friday, October 15, 2010

Building A Reprap, pt 1: What Is A Reprap?

I have begun to build a Reprap, along with several other people from the San Diego Hackerspace (Don't look at me like that, go educate yourself on the real meaning of hacker.), and I plan to blog the process. But first, what is a Reprap?

A Reprap is an open source, 3D fabrication machine. If you are familiar with the Schlockverse, think of it as a primitive fabber. If you know about Star Trek, think of is as very (!) primitive replicator.

If you somehow are not familiar with ether of those references, I will describe a Reprap for you. In essence, a Reprap is a personal, printer sized machine capable of "printing" plastic objects.

They can make everything from the practical to the complicated to the whimsical. (Images from


There are many commercial 3D printers on the market, but the "cheap" ones tend to run in the $25,000 range. A Reprap on the other hand should cost me under $500. While it's true that the  print quality is not as fine as a commercial machine would produce, a Reprap is a clear winner in the affordability department.