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This is a list of common terms and abbreviations used in the RepRap community.

Translations of this page

Dutch: Woordenboek


Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. A thermoplastic used as a 3D printer material.

Often ABS is used as a short form, actually referring to filament made of ABS: Do you use ABS in your Mendel?


The build plate of the 3D printer on which parts are actually made.


Toothed gear belt. Usually fiber-reinforced to prevent stretching. Used to transfer movement from the motors to other parts of a machine.


Bill of materials. A list of parts. There are BOMs for the whole Mendel and for individual components.


The moving middle assembly on the x-axis of Mendel which holds the extruder. Often referred to as: x-carriage.


Ethylene vinyl acetate. Several early RepRap research experiments used off-the-shelf EVA glue sticks in hot-glue guns. Those glue sticks are mostly EVA which melts around 85°C.


The act of placing the build material on the build platform, normally by heating thermoplastic to a liquid state and pushing it through a small nozzle.


A group of parts which handles feeding and extruding of the build material. Consists of two assemblies: a cold end to pull and feed the thermoplastic from the spool, and a hot end that melts and extrudes the thermoplastic.


Fused deposition method; same as FFF.


Fused filament fabrication. Where a droplet of one material (plastic, wax, metal, etc.) is deposited on top of or alongside the same material making a joint (by heat or adhesion).


Two uses:

  • Plastic material made into (often 3mm) string to be used as raw material in 3D printers.
  • Extruded plastic (often < 1 mm)


a.k.a. squashed frog
This is a part that the printing plate connects to. The frog connects directly to the linear bearings on the Y axis. The name comes from the original Sells Mendel part that looked like a "squashed frog".


The information sent over the wire from a PC to most computer numerical control (CNC) machines -- including most RepRaps -- is in G-code. While in principle a human could directly type G-code commands to a RepRap, most people prefer to use one of the many CAM Toolchains that reads a STL file and sends lines of G-code over the wire to the machine.

Some researchers are developing alternatives to G-code.

Heated Bed

A build surface that is warmed in order to keep the base of an extruded part from cooling (and shrinking) too quickly. Such shrinking leads to warping internal stresses in RP parts. The most common result is corners of parts lifting off the build surface. Heated beds usually yield higher quality finished builds.

Hot End

The parts of the extruder that get hot enough to melt plastic, or potentially other materials. Hot end parts use materials that can stand up to ~240 C heat (for current thermoplastic extrusion). The hot end usually refers to the tip of the extruder as it should be hottest there.

Kapton tape

Heat-resistant polyimide adhesive tape. Used to secure the heating element to the extruder barrel. It can also be used on the surface of a heated bed.


An alloy of nickel and chromium. Nichrome wire is used as a heating element in many extruder barrels and some heated bed designs. Simpler and less messy enamel resistors are often used for the same purpose.



(Adjective) Adjustable in all dimensions. A parametric model is one that can be resized and or distorted to suit the user's needs. In CAD software, If a widget has a 1 cm hole in it, you can select that hole and make it a 5 mm hole with a few clicks, as opposed to a triangular mesh (see entry on .stl), which is more difficult to adjust.

The native format of several useful software packages can store parametric models.


Polyether ether ketone. A high temperature thermoplastic used as a thermal barrier in the extruder.


Polylactic acid. A biodegradable thermoplastic polymer used as a 3D printer material.

Often PLA is used as a short form, actually referring to filament made of PLA: I use PLA in my Mendel.


Polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon). A slippery thermoplastic often used as a barrel in the extruder to minimize friction with the filament.


A technique used to prevent warping. Parts are built on top of a 'raft' of disposable material instead of directly on the build surface. The raft is larger than the part and so has more adhesion. Rarely used with heated build surfaces.


Reprap Arduino Mega Pololu Shield - one of the more popular flavors of the "Official" electronics.


Rapid prototyping. Creating an object in a matter of hours on a "3D printer" as opposed to sending out a job to a modeling shop that can take days or weeks.


A RepRap machine is a rapid prototyping machine that can manufacture a significant fraction of its own parts. The RepRap project is a quest to make a desktop-sized RepRap machine.

To reprap: v. To make something in a RepRap machine.
Reprappable: adj. Capable of being made in a RepRap machine.

See also: RepRapWiki:About


A 3d printing machine which can be used to make a RepRap, but is not a reprap itself, as it wasn't made by something like itself. These are becoming less common as Mendel printed plastic parts become more available, but are still very popular. They're often sold in kit form or custom-made from scrounged parts.

See also: What Tooling Do You Have

Stepper Motor

Motors which operate only in discrete increments of rotation. This is the type of motor most commonly used in Mendel, the earlier Darwin, and Repstraps.


Short for Stereo Lithographic

A recommended file format used to describe 3D objects. A design program (e.g. AoI) can produce an STL file which can then be fed to a 3D printer or 3D rendering graphics package. Possible alternatives to STL are discussed at a community specification for an improvement to STL files.

Thick Sheet

A firm flat sheet of material 4mm - 6mm thick used as a printing surface. A variety of materials have been used, but the most important property is that it must be flat.


A non-replicated part.

In RepRap jargon, a "vitamin" is anything that you need to build a RepRap which cannot be printed on a RepRap. For example, bolts.

Wade's Extruder

An alternative to the standard extruder