RepRap printed circuits

One step closer to self-replicating machines

To many in the hobby 3d printing community, printed electronic circuitry is a kind of ‘holy grail’. RepRap advocate Rhys Jones is one of the pioneers of DIY printed circuits that’s been making serious progress on this front since we last checked in on him.

He’s modifidied his RepRap printer to have two print heads: one for plastic, and one for metal. The results of his latest update are shown above. He starts by printing the plastic substrate, with cavities for the components and the tracks. Components are then manually placed into their holes, before the metal tracks are printed in place.

This is still a work in progress but it is very encouraging to see hobbyists getting one step closer to self-replicating machines.

Digital Manufacturing Lab with RepRap opens at the University of Bath

A new lab to showcase open source 3D printing.

The Digital Manufacturing Lab recently opened as part of the Bath Ventures Innovation Centre at the University of Bath, England. The purpose of the lab is to showcase the potential of 3D printing with the RepRap for developing new product ideas.

One thing that distinguishes this initiative from others is the focus on using the RepRap technology for business. 3D printing tends to be divided into high-end printers for large companies and cheaper open-source printers for personal use. This project is somewhere in the middle.

Update: If you are interested in using this facility or in RepRap technology in general, the Lab is hosting their first networking event on November 1st.

Ponoko + SparkFun = RepRap components

Making a 3D printer using laser cut and electronic components.

Hiding in the depths of the Waitakere Ranges, New Zealander Vik Olliver is one of the core members of the RepRap project and is very familiar with both Ponoko and SparkFun.  The latter would have been in Vik’s bookmarks for half a decade after an online search for serial port information.  Vik’s collaboration with Ponoko started in 2007 when he got talking to Ponoko’s Dave Ten Have at Thursday Night Curry, in Wellington.  Vik is best known to us for making RepRap parts, but a quick search revealed that he has a great deal many talents.

How did you make stuff before Ponoko?


RepRap Progeny

Printing The Next Generation – Here’s How It’s Done

It’s all about taking a basic 3d printer, and using it to print a more advanced one. That’s the beauty of this technology… the beauty of the whole DIY 3d printer movement, in fact.

Watch the video as Gavilan Steinman neatly explains how his Darwin printer was used to fabricate a Mendel replacement, thus propelling him into a future where higher quality outcomes will be achieved with greater speed and efficiency.

From the humblest of beginnings, a device can be constructed that sets off a steady climb towards fabbing freedom. The original extruder was a handmade wooden contraption that Gavilan then used to create a better version of itself. This higher performing and more accurate component was then installed, ready to print out the next generation of components.

Not only do we get to see the whole process in this well composed clip, the tempting reality of Ponoko’s new hardware partnership with Sparkfun means that all of the other electronic goodies you’ll need to bring your 3d printer to life can now be sourced right here.

Combine this with the wealth of knowledge that continues to grow at the reprap community and you’ll soon be printing out a next generation of your own.

Via Hack a day.

RepRap’s Ponoko Extruder

RepRap is short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper. It is a practical self-copying 3D printer, a self-replicating machine. This 3D printer builds the parts up in layers of plastic. This technology already exists, but the cheapest commercial machine would cost you about U$40,000. And it isn’t even designed so that it can make itself. So what the RepRap team are doing is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about U$650). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world.
reprap 1
Following the principles of the Free Software Movement RepRap are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence.
reprap 3
The RepRap blog have just linked to instructions on their Wiki of how to assemble their Ponoko RepRap Extruder, too cool. In an upcoming post we will be interviewing the RepRap crew to get their take on personal manufacturing and alike….
reprap 2
In the meantime check out their designs in the Ponoko showroom or the RepRap Site..

Reprap in reproduction shocker

According to the Reprap website, Reprappers at the University of Bath, UK, have succeeded in making a rapid prototyper reproduce itself for the first time.

University of Bath Reprap Success

Adrian Bowyer (left) and Vik Olliver (right) with a parent RepRap machine, made on a conventional rapid prototyper, and the first complete working child RepRap machine, made by the RepRap on the left. The child machine made its first successful grandchild part at 14:00 hours UTC on 29 May 2008 at Bath University in the UK, a few minutes after it was assembled. image:

The University of Bath’s press release states:

“The materials, plus the minority of parts that the machine cannot print, cost about £300. All those non-printed parts can be bought at hardware shops or from online stores.”

So if we’re going to be picky, no it hasn’t actually replicated itself in entirety – what has been achieved is that the Reprap design is now sophisticated enough to reproduce all its plastic parts, which were initially produced for the parent model by a conventional 3D printer. I like that the test of success is for the child Reprap to make the first component of its offspring Reprap – A highly accelerated world, this where generations are separated by just minutes! The successful reproduction was achieved by Adrian Bowyer and Vik Olliver, who also founded the Reprap project just 3 years and 2 months ago! Again, not bad as evolution goes, and I’m sure Reprap’s current namesake would be proud!

Now its time to make your own. Good synopsis of the project, as ever, at Wikipedia.

The parent and child Repraps will be on display from the 4th June (today) to the 8th June at the Cheltenham Science Festival, if you’re down that way.

Via Neel

UPDATE: Thanks to =ml= for pointing out Reprap’s own showroom on Ponoko where one can have parts for the Darwin Reprap cut and delivered by Ponoko.

Makezine Weekend Project: Make a RepRap Robot Part 1: The Electronics

If you follow this blog or follow the whole electronics DIY maker movement, you’re probably familiar with This is an open source project with the goal of creating a self-replicating rapid prototyper (3D printer). Over at Bre Pettis’s I Make Things (also at Makezine Blog), you’ll find the first in a series of Makezine Weekend Project video tutorial on how to make a RepRap robot. This week they’re working on the electronics part of the RepRap robot, like the stepper boards, motor controller board, and arduinos. After watching the video, you can download their PDFcast for more details and links. In upcoming weekend project videos they’ll be working on the hardware and software. So stay tuned!

3 Reasons Why You’ll Love Laser Cut Cork Products

New Material In NZ Catalog: Cork Sheets

When you think of cork, a wine bottle stopper is probably the first product that comes to mind. For those with sustainable building interests, you may even think of cork flooring. But have you thought of using cork as a material in your laser cutting projects?

Three Reasons To Love Cork

If you haven’t considered cork as a material for laser cutting projects, you should. And there are three reasons why you’ll love it.

  1. Laser engraving cork results in excellent contrast so your design details pop. You can see this contrast in the coffee cup holder we made with an intricate line-engraved honeycomb pattern. Line engraving for cork is recommended over area engraving due to powder (soot) build up, so you’ll want to design with that in mind.
  1. Cork is a flexible material. The majority of materials in the New Zealand catalog are rigid. So having another flexible material gives you more flexibility (pun intended!) for the products you design.
  1. Cork is generally regarded as environmentally friendly. Cork production is considered sustainable because the tree is not cut down to obtain cork; only the bark is stripped to harvest the cork while the tree continues to live and grow. (Check out this Apartment Therapy article to see why cork is so incredibly green.)

Get Inspired: How Makers Are Using Cork

Cork is a natural choice for coasters because of its absorption properties. Etsy seller EngravedSensations created custom laser cut coasters to put a twist on the traditional wedding save-the-date announcement. Now the couple and their guests have a long-lasting—and useful—memento of the special day.

Laser Cut Cork Wedding Coasters

Cork coasters can be turned into party place settings when personalized with individuals’ names, like these beauties from Etsy seller YourOneFineDay. Whether you’re designing an organic, whimsical or urban chic event, the natural finish of cork works as the perfect accompaniment to any party table.

Laser Cut Personalized Cork Coasters


For world travelers (or those who want to be), this laser cut cork push pin world map from Etsy seller ArbolDeCorcho lets you easily visualize where you’ve been and where you want to go in a eye-catching piece of wall art.

Laser Cut Cork World Map Wall Art

While cork has an organic beauty that’s suitable for jewelry and home décor projects, it also has applications in the industrial sector. This cork gasket from Ebay seller crunchtech is commonly used in 3D printers and other CNC machinery to reduce not only thermal transfer between parts but also vibration and resonance so there is less noise when printing.

Laser Cut Cork Gaskets

You can even spruce up a turntable with laser cut cork slipmats like these from Etsy seller PickYourPoisons that were inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man or Japanese artist Hokusai’s The Great Wave Off Kanagawa.

Laser Cut Cork Turntable Slipmat

Graphic designer Adriana Cabeza chose laser cut cork to create stamps, which she then used with fabric paint to create one-of-a-kind totebags.

Laser Cut Cork Stamps

Now Available: Cork

Cork is lightweight, rot resistant, compressible and recoverable, expandable, fire resistant in its natural state, impermeable, soft and buoyant.

Laser Cut Cork Samples

Learn more about 3mm Cork and get a Cork Sample.

Join The Conversation: What Will You Create With Laser Cut Cork?

Cork has so much versatility. What ideas do you have for making with this new material? Tell us all about it by leaving a comment below!


Fold-out arm on a DIY laser cutter

Space saving portable design takes laser cutting on the road

Here is another interesting DIY laser cutter project, this time featuring a novel departure from the standard construction we are used to seeing.

Instead of running within a constrained space, the compact laser cutter has an arm that swings out in a format reminiscent of the RepRap 3D printer.

When the laser cutter is in use the arm opens up to 90 degrees perpendicular to the box and the laser head runs along it.

The main structural elements are made from aluminium extrusions, and there are a few custom CNC milled and 3D printed components to fill in the gaps and connect other off-the-shelf parts.

This looks to be a novel way to build a laser cutter that you can take on the road with you. No more heavy equipment fixed in place in the workshop… just be careful not to set it up on your grandma’s favourite coffee table!

For more info, including a thorough photo essay of the development process behind the fold-out laser cutter, click through to the source.

via DIY fold-out laser cutter

Blender to include more 3D print support!

The Blender 2.67 release includes a feature packed 3D printing toolbox

Blender has long supported the .STL file format used to export for 3D print and it is very welcome news that there will be additional support within the software to help modelers. As a popular, free and open source 3D modeling software package, these new features will greatly help save users’ time in finding issues with their models.

The new toolbox looks set to have features useful for printing models both with online services such as Ponoko, and also with RepRap or Makerbot kitset 3D printers. Models for 3D printing need to be perfectly watertight, so all their edges need to meet to enclose a volume. For most users this can cause issues from time to time, trying to find where a tiny hole might exist. (more…)