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This page describes something which is no longer the most recent version. For the replacement version see: DriverSoftware#Installation

Installing the RepRap software under Windows

RepRap uses a large number of open-source software packages for development, and quite a few when it runs. This page describes how to take a standard Windows XP installation and prepare it for RepRap use. It then describes how to download and set up all the RepRap software. Note that for many of these installations you will need administrative rights.

Where does stuff go?

It is conventional to install programs, when asked into Program Files on the main hard drive.

It is also recommended that you keep any downloaded installation files in a single folder somewhere.


RepRap's controlling software is written in Java, and also the Art of Illusion design package for three dimensional objects uses it, so next we need a Java development environment. The following method of getting one should be clean, in that it is easy to separate it from any Java that you already have on your system.

Note: You might as well install a full JDK not just the smaller JRE, in case you decide to help develop the RepRap software once you are familiar with it.

Java Development Kit (JDK) / Java Runtime Environment (JRE)

Download the above from Sun: After downloading, run the installation file (and follow the on-screen instructions.

Please Note: If, when you run this program (called jdk-6u2-windows-i586-p.exe or similar). you see a dialogue box that is titled "Open File - Security Warning" and asks "Do you want to run this file?", it seems to be important to un-check the checkbox labelled "Always ask before opening this file" before clicking on the Run button. This is a new 'security' feature in Internet Explorer 7, apparently.

Java3D - 3D graphics in Java

The host RepRap software uses three-dimensional graphics to allow you to interact with the RepRap machine, so you need a copy of Java3D to permit that to work. Click on that link and download the appropriate installer file for your machine into your home directory; for a Windows PC which uses an Intel processor the file will be called something like java3d-1_5_1-windows-i586.exe.

Run this program - it will add extra files to your Java lib directory where Java will be able to find them.

The 3D utility library

There is an additional 3D utility library needed to be able to open and work with STL files. Download it from here.

Note: If you are downloading this file using Internet Explorer, it may label it as instead of j3d-org-java3d-all.jar . If this happens, either correct its name before you save the file, or rename it after it is downloaded.

Then copy the whole file (do not attempt to extract it anywhere) to \lib\ext in your JRE folder e.g. C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.6.0_02\lib\ext .

RXTX Serial Library - serial-port communications

The host computer (that is, the computer on which you're installing all this software) talks to the RepRap machine using either an RS232 serial port (/dev/ttyS0 or /dev/ttyS1 on most machines) or via a USB-to-serial converter (/dev/ttyUSB0). Most laptops and some desktop PCs don't have a serial interface, so - if you have one of those - you will need to buy such a converter; they normally only cost a few pounds. (RepRap 2.0 "Mendel" will be driven directly via USB.)

Java, therefore, needs to know how to talk to these serial interfaces. Fortunately, there is a Java API that implements this.

RepRap now uses the RXTX serial libraries. The current version of them being used is 2.1.7-r2. Check the RXTX site to see if there is a newer one (under the downloads tab on the site) at the time you read this, and download the appropriate Linux binary .zip file, currently [[1]].

Follow instructions from ("RXTX installation procedure if you want to run RXTX enabled programs" scenario)

RepRap Host Software

Now you are ready to download and run the RepRap Host software! Simply navigate to the SourceForge download page using your web browser, and choose the most recent version (0.8.1 as of 01 July 2007). Download that, and then unzip it wherever you like (your home directory is fine). The easiest way to run it, is to double click the reprap-host.bat file and at the prompt, either select 'run in terminal (for debug text, which can be helpful if you encounter any issues)' or 'run'.

This is a representation of the build-base of the RepRap machine. You will load objects to be made here, move them to where you want them built, then build them.

For the moment experiment with the tilt, zoom and pan controls (left, middle and right mouse buttons respectively). There is a .zip file full of STL files you can load into your Reprap host software, downloadable from Sourceforge. Some of the larger ones there will not yet "print" in your Reprap host software, though -- try out smaller the ones first.

Annoyingly, if you have an Nvidia graphics card on your system, a bug in the Nvidia drivers may become aparent here, and the software will give a Java exception rather than giving you graphics. To fix that, see here.


You have now installed the RepRap Host software, and with the proper machinery, you are ready to get printing! This is just the surface of the software need to actually develop for the project. At this early stage, its unlikely that you will be able to get by with just the host software. Follow the instructions below to install and setup your complete development environment.

Development Software Installation

This is for the extra stuff that most people won't need. 3D modeling, circuit board layout/design, java compiling, firmware compiling, etc. Here there be dragons. As well as a lot of fun ;)

[The software developer install instructions are currently only written for Linux installations. For how to compile and link the firmware under Windows using Cygwin, see CygwinBuild].