Sample reprap proposals
RepRap is short for “REPlicating RAPid prototyping”, an open-source project founded in 2005 by Dr. Adrian Bowyer and Ed Sells at the UK University of Bath. Its purpose is to design and construct a self-replicating 3D Printer (3DP). In the past six years the project has grown from a modest two man team into a global effort with hundreds of active members spanning five continents and countless countries. The primary goal of this project is building a machine that creates all the parts needed to produce a second copy of itself otherwise known as mechanical self-replication. The technology uses (Fused Filament Fabrication, a subclass of the additive manufacturing technologies) it is extremely useful for prototype manufacturing in its own right. It works by melting plastic feedstock and depositing it in layers one on top of the other. As the layers cool, they solidify serving as a foundation for the subsequent layers. The result is a strong, solid, and often complex three-dimensional plastic object.
Commercial 3D Printer are out of reach for most ordinary people, especially students because of their extremely prohibitive cost which can exceed well over $10,000. The RepRap project has been steadily bringing down the cost barrier of to this technology, with total costs starting around $550 for all the parts needed but it is much less if a 3D printer is available. The printing material consists of a thin plastic filament rod, which is extremely inexpensive and used very efficiently, with little to no wear and tear on the machine. Efforts are currently underway to recycle ordinary plastic objects, such as milk jugs, into usable filament. Even utilizing commercially available filament printing, cost pennies and producing the plastic parts necessary for another RepRap equates to less than $20 in raw materials.
The building schematics, software drivers, and documentation are all entirely open-source and free of charge allowing the technology to be widely distributed. This means that students, given access to it will be able to easily replicate copies and build new RepRap machines. It will also empower students to interactively bring their own digital designs to life for such a low cost that it essentially eliminates what tends to be a common tax on creativity. A large number of printable designs are available for download from a database community known as Thingiverse.com, using this resource students can easily dissect and modify existing designs as well as contribute their own creations. A machine like this is probably the cheapest and most effective way for a student to create a useful physical object from a digital design. I believe that [Organization Name] would benefit greatly from having access to a tool like this, and I would be willing to put in the effort to build one for the school. To do this, I will require access to [School Name] commercial 3D printer in order to produce the unique parts required for construction the of the machine. If a professor is interested in giving oversight and guidance that would be extremely welcome, but I am confident that with the RepRap community's support and my own determination I will be able to complete the project on my own.
I would be interested in getting involved in this project like other high profile engineering universities have already done. RepRap has the potential for a true multidisciplinary project involving mechanical and electrical engineering, programming, art and design, film and photography. I am optimistic our students would become contributors to many of these areas. With a small group of students, documentation would be done using video, photographs, and written explanations of the build processes. This would enable others to more easily build and use these machines, while providing a hands-on learning process to beginners. I would like to form a [School Name] RepRap User Group for this purpose. Artists and inventors, especially those from outside the engineering field, would be encouraged to come up with designs that can be produced on the printer as well as ways to improve it.
By: Kliment and Euclid