3D Printers

Maker Faire primary mission accomplished; yes, I think I do want to build a RepRap printer, no interest at all in a MakerBot after seeing all the various options there. A Prusa Mendel from MakerGear is the one I think; very good parts quality, the best options on everything, very smooth output. Other models like the MakerGear Mosaic or the Huxley are cute, but they're 100% as much work and 90% as much money for 50% the capacity.

However, due to an unexpected multi-thousand-dollar expense in the last couple of weeks, it'll be a few months before I have cash in hand to order one and I refuse to carry a credit card balance anymore, especially for experiments and toys (this is kind of both).

  • Elle Plato - 3D printing is incredible technology (including hot melt extrustion, which is a subset of the technology). I love how the RepRap devices are made to be able to print themselves (except servos), so you can use them to print more of themselves. At some point I will get some 3D printers, but right now I have other things I have to do.

    Have you see the open source model repositories like thing-a-verse?
  • John Ridley - Of course, without thingiverse and similar sites a 3D printer wouldn't be nearly as attractive.

    The self-replication capabilities of the RepRap are interesting, but I think it's a bit overblown, honestly. You can make a RepStrap that works just as well as a RepRap for about the same work and price really. RepStraps are "bootstraps" for if you don't have access to a printer to create the parts. They're not particularly less effective than printed RepRaps, really. And in fact if you go out and buy a RepRap printer kit, many of the better ones are not RepRap printed but laser cut.

    And honestly their claim of more than half self-replicatiing is a HUGE stretch; all they're printing is the motor mounts and a bunch of connectors. The majority of the structure is purchased metal rods, there's a major chunk of electronics that needs to be built separately, a substantial power supply, limit switches, significant wiring, and a significant box of nuts and bolts and such. The parts that ARE printed, honestly, would be fairly easy to build in other ways, and many people do to get started, though the parts may not look as nice as the printed version.

    Still, I'm all for the concept, since if I get a printer I'll probably be able to make back at least a good portion of the cost by printing parts for other builders when I'm not printing anything else.