I am a RepRapper!  The RepRap project is an open source effort to build low cost 3D printers.  Yeah, we’re building the seed of a Star Trek replicator.  Don’t expect to eat the results yet, though!

A few months ago I bought the laser cut parts kit from Ian Adkins’ BitsFromBytes store.  I expected that the laser cut kit would be very similar to the standard Darwin design on, so I bought just the laser cut parts and ordered the hardware for the standard design from other sources (as listed on the former site, which is now redirecting to Zach Hoeken’s RRRF store).  I hoped to save a little money that way since shipping overseas is expensive.  Unfortunately, the laser cut design is significantly different; in particular, it uses primarily M3 nuts and bolts while the standard design uses M5.  So I ended up ordering a lot of extra hardware.

On the other hand, I don’t think that was such a bad idea, since now I have hard-won knowledge of where to find this obscure hardware.  I know the RepRap project is trying hard to rely on commodity hardware, but metric hardware is rare in hardware stores in the USA, and what they have is overpriced.  So I’ve had to rely on online sources for nearly everything.

In any case, I’ve forged ahead and now my machine is very close to being ready to print.  All 3 axes move smoothly and the extruder motor seems to work well enough.  The only thing I’m stuck on is the heater, which I have tried to build 3 times now, each time making some critical mistake.  I’ve ordered a roll of 30 AWG nichrome wire from Amazon and a brass tube from; once they get here, I should be ready to build the heater correctly. I only wish I could buy such things locally so I wouldn’t have to wait!

3 thoughts on “RepRapping”

  1. Well done! Of course, all those extra bits will come in handy when you use your lasercut RepRap to make the next RepRap from the parts you print, no?

    The extruder heater is tricky – sorry about that, but it’s the nature of the beast. Try firing the first layer of cement with a blowtorch before wrapping the wire around it. Oh, and leave plenty of spare wire! Aim for a coil resistance of around 8 ohms and allow the cement to dry thoroughly before firing it.

    I attach the thermistor to a separate copper tag, which the nozzle then holds in place up against the underside of the heater coil.

    Vik :v)

  2. Ahoy, Vik! It’s good to see you here. Yes, I don’t feel like any extra parts are really wasted, since I intend to build a RepRap for my brother. I have several angles of attack I’m going to try on the heater and I’ll post as soon as I’ve tried them.

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