Sunday, May 29, 2011


Stepping into firmware

In which your narrator begins to build the PIC32 firmware for the Darwin/Rapman-derivative Sampo 3D printer.

Do you want to read more?


Moving RepRap from Subversion to Git

Kliment, Nils and Sam have got a daily copying from the RepRap
Subversion repository to Git at running.
This is a temporary arrangement to make the migration of RepRap from
Subversion to Git easy for people - they can still use Subversion, or
switch, and both repositories will be (roughly) synchronised.  For the
moment Git is the read-only slave, and Subversion is still the master
where updates get logged.

This will continue until Wednesday the 6th of July.  On that date we
will freeze the RepRap Subversion repository and the RepRap Git
repository will become the master distribution.   That will then be
directly updated (and, doubtless, expanded).  The frozen Subversion
repository will be maintained for the foreseeable future for

Now would be a good time to update RepRap Wiki pages (and others) that
point to parts of Subversion to make them point to the equivalent
parts of Git...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Selectively making parts of object stronger

I've published small hack how to make some parts of object stronger then the rest :-)

Selectively making parts of object stronger on RepRap with Skeinforge


- Jo Prusa

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Winding up the String Wars

In which your narrator completes the cable positioning system for the z-axis.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011


Balitmore RepRap Master Class

If you’re thinking of getting into 3D printing and don’t know where to start, then we have just the ticket for you. FabLab@Baltimore is holding a RepRap Master Class.  The format is simple. For a fee of $850, participants will be provided with all of the hardware and software, along with expert guidance, over the course of the weekend, to build and commission their RepRap 3D printer. There are other ways to get a one of these machines functioning, but these involve substituting cost with lots of time spent researching, sourcing and learning to get the best out of a RepRap 3D printing machine.

The Master class will be at the CCBC Campus, with the long time RepRap developers Jmil (Jordan Miller), Telsa893 (Steve Kelly), and digiFab (Andy Ta) among others.

For more information and to sign up, go to the DigifabIndustries Website, or email Andy Ta  We look forward to seeing you there this June.

Monday, May 16, 2011


Refighting the String Wars

In which your narrator applies the cabling approach to raising and lowering the print table of his redesigned Darwin pioneered by eD at Bath University in the ARNIE Reprap printer in 2006.

Do you want to read more?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Never Mind the Width, Feel the Quality

The new universal extruder together with the Java Host Software and my Mendels are now producing whole trays of really high quality parts day in day out in the Bowyer RepRap Playroom, so I thought it was time to do another release.

The picture is as the parts come straight off the machine with no subsequent fettling at all.


Solid prints

In which your narrator attempt to print a large, complicated part in solid ABS without support or warping.

Do you want to read more?

Sunday, May 08, 2011


Thermal goodness

I managed to get some thermal images of my Prusa printing Buddha. I put them on my web and commented them.

Monday, May 02, 2011



I had a great time down at the 3D DC event last week. It was organized by Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge; the purpose was to educate the US government about 3d printing and personal fabrication, in an effort to try and avoid repeating the legal mess that has embroiled the music and video industries. Lots of interesting folks there, some superstar hackers, and even free beer at the end! I put up a few photos here:

and what follows is a more detailed account of how it went down. Enjoy!


I was a bit concerned when I first met Andy.

He had mentioned via email that his RepRap could use a little tuning up before the 3D DC event, so we arranged to have a little meet up in the garage of my dad's old college room mate Dick, at whose house I was staying in while in DC.

Andy, a young guy who works at the Baltimore FabLab, turned up with a box (a very nice box with a huge RepRap logo engraved on the front) of assorted electronics and RepRap parts, and a three day old Prusa Mendel with no electronics, X carriage, or build surface, in a state that looked to me like it would take several days of work to get it anywhere near it's first print. The event was the next morning, so we got to work, assembling testing, tweaking, hacksawing, and wiring.

For someone like me, used to the original Mendel (and Darwin before that), it went together surprisingly quickly. We were doing test prints by 11 pm, when I had to beg off and get some sleep, being quite jetlagged. Figuring that we were close enough at that point, and besides, we had my Mendel ready to go – the Prusa was really a backup, a 'nice to have' extra, so we (well, I did at least) figured sleep was more important than a perfectly running pair of RepRaps.

Arriving at the Capitol the next morning our large, wooden, wheeled crates raised a lot of eyebrows from security and congressmen/women alike. As we set up in the foyer of the Rayburn House, directly South of the Capitol building, we immediately hit a few snags – Andy's computer's screen went dark. It would only flash briefly at boot, but then stay completely dark, despite much swearing, prodding and pounding. Bad timing, but no problem; we still had my Mendel.

Unfortunately, despite almost year of reliable service, my extruder (a Wade's Extruder of course, something I'm fairly proud of) chose that moment to jam up. Hmm. After a quick on-site disassembly and cleaning, and not so quick reassembly during which I had ample time to reflect on the poor design choices I made in the mounting arrangement of my extruder, I got it running again, only to have the extruder heater short out repeatedly at 70 deg C. Oops. Should have finished that resistor based extruder. At this point another exhibitor mentioned something about an unusually high gremlin population here at the Capitol...

By this time it was time for the panel meeting, so we adjourned upstairs to listen to a fairly interesting panel talk. The point of this entire event, organized by Michael Weinberg of Public Knowledge, was to try and expose the US government to 3d printing and personal fabrication. Existing copyright law and how it relates to things like the Internet and file sharing could be considered one giant legal mess; the Public Knowledge guys were trying to get a head start on how digital fabrication is going to be received by the American legal system, in the hope that some of the pitfalls that are looming may be avoided.

Lots of interesting points were brought up about IP, trademarking, lawsuits, copyright etc, but not much in the way of solutions just yet. It was entertaining to see Bre up there in his black t shirt among all the suit and tie folks. Everyone agreed that something should be done, but what exactly that something was, no one was quite sure. Except for Bre – he was quite sure what needed to be done – get more printers out there ASAP, and make more stuff. His enthusiasm was, as always, contagious, and really put a positive spin on the event. Good times! I snuck in a blurry cellphone photo of the panel members, but since I could see 6 expensive looking CCTV cameras looking at me, and a lot of large security guys looking around purposefully, I didn't think taking a proper photo was appropriate.

Back downstairs, Andy, after a few quick google searches, ruled out memory problems on his laptop, and figured out that the backlight had failed. We tried downloading his host software onto my laptop via my Canadian cell phone, in order to run his Prusa off my laptop, but AT&T didn't seem to like the 13 MB file and wouldn't give us more than a kb/s or two, unlike the 100's of kb I usually get back home, despite having signed up for a temporary US data account.

Thinking quickly, Andy used my flashlight to see small portions of his computer screen, just enough to get his host software running and started up a print – awesome! People starting filing in at this point for the hands-on demonstration, so Andy took the helm, showing off his 3 day old machine, proudly printing away, while I smiled, answered questions, and madly re-wired my extruder's hot end. Luckily, I got it running fairly quickly, and we had two RepRaps running smoothly to show off. We were both very happy campers, and had a chance to mingle with the rest of the attendees, and answered many questions. I passed out a few gears I customized with my email address in lieu of a business card, and everyone loved the set of Heart Gears I'd printed out from Thingiverse.

I was amazed at how many people understood immediately the concept of how RepRap prints itself, but then I realized this was a pretty smart crowd, and that I actually had a banner in front of me that spelled it out in big, easy to read letters: “RepRap – the 3D printer that prints itself”. Right. That really made things a lot easier, much less explaining to do on my part than last time. A few people even picked up the handouts, and a couple of them looked like they might actually read it. Quite a few people asked me why my partner kept shining a flashlight at his computer screen – they thought he was up to something funky like the guys doing free-form printing via a hacked Kinect at the next table over.

After much printing, looking at printers printing, and fondling cool printed objects, it was time to wrap things up and head out for free beer (really! free as in beer!) down at the Pour House, where I was able to spend a good bit of time talking with Michael Weinberg, along with a lot of other great folks. Michael, who put the whole event together, was extremely pleased with the event. Apparently, in addition to all the 3D printing folks that showed up, almost all of the people from the Patent and Trademark offices and other government types that he was gunning for had shown up as well, so he felt we had really accomplished something. If he was happy, I was happy, so all in all, it was a good event!

I also met all sorts of RepRap luminaries I'd only ever met on IRC before, including DrGone, Dr Mark Ganter, and the newly renamed DigitalWonderBoy (Andy!), as well as Jeff Moss, the founder of DefCon, the yearly hacker convention where everyone plays the game “Spot the Fed”. All in all, it was a very fun, successful event. Although, I must admit, after shlepping a full Mendel across several airports and a few public transit systems, I suddenly have a renewed interest in the Huxley.

A big thank you to Bath University for paying my way down to DC for the event, thanks to Dick and Helen Podolske for providing a roof over my head and a garage to tinker away in late into the night, and Adrian and the rest of the RepRap community for making this all possible. And thanks to Andy Ta for helping out – it was really fun, and I'm really glad you were there with your working RepRap!


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