Monday, August 2, 2010

And here come the Chinese.

Degroff over at the Makerbot Google pointed out this video.  The company Personal Portable 3d Printer is offering a "RepStrap" with a heated build plate, stepper extruder, and metal frame for $1500 to the 1st 100 orders, then the price goes to 2,999.

I love the design, but wow this is a shot across the bow of Makerbot, Bits From Bytes, Techzone, and the other commercial 3d printers.

Here's the fun part.  To order you have to fill out a purchase order, email it to them.  Then they will email you back to confirm the order and tell you how to pay.  It's shaddy as heck, but  this is likely some dude in a small village. :)


  1. While I'm sure this machine is full of open-source license violations, I have to admit that I like the design, and it's giving me ideas. The flat "thick sheet" parts have always been one of the most annoying parts to source, being custom parts that are not available in a form that is ready to use without modification beyond the cut-to-length required for threaded/smooth rod (ignoring new suppliers dealing specifically in reprap parts). It would be interesting, though, to replace some/all of the structural rods with low-precision flat sheet parts.

    I can even picture a machine designed to be built inside a box, of whatever size, shape and material you happen to have available. Any box with perpendicular sides made of a material that is strong enough and can withstand the temperatures (old PC case, wooden crate, storage cabinet, toolbox, etc.) could have some holes cut and drilled at given distances from the sides (making the build volume a function of the size of the box) to which reprapped parts and a minimal number of other vitamins could be bolted. The cartesian bot design seen here would lend itself well to this model, and with a little forethought, this would make a heated build chamber a simple upgrade.

    This design deviates from the reprap project goals of making the majority of the machine's volume reprappable, but I think it's still in the spirit of the project. The simple and non-specific requirement of "a box" reduces the number of vitamins while making them easier to source, and makes it easier to spread the project to less developed countries.

  2. If they can steal ideas from us, why can't we steal ideas from them? check out the auto-feed mechanism on the roll end of the filament. ( a microswitch pushed by a sheath, and what I assume is a little DC pinch-wheel that is turned on by the microswitch. neat!

  3. The feeder mechanism is from thingiverse...

  4. That was one of the license violations I was referring to. I remembered seeing that on Thingiverse, but didn't bother looking it up. Looking now, that actually wasn't released with an open source license. It's "all rights reserved", but for all I can tell, it could have been posted by the makers of this machine.

  5. RepRap will always be cutting edge, we can even quickly adapt the best of that machine to RepRap.

    Right now I am working to have a 2D inkjet printer using RepRap, something that closed and commercial printers can't do it.

    And I am sure RepRap will be user friendly over time, it will take more time but it will.

    The design of that machine is nice, but it is not reprapable, eheh.

  6. Thick sheet metal parts like that can be made quickly and with very high precision on a waterjet cutter (which, I believe, is a much more appropriate tool for this kind of work than a laser cutter). It's probably how these were made.

    Anyway, I think we should be nothing but happy about this development. More printers, eh! This one seems to be quite high quality, and I'm impressed with their precision. That means more quality RepRap parts could soon be on the market! More choices, more freedom. Let's be positive! These people have done good work, and it seems like a very small team is behind it; maybe students even. Of course they're not repraps, but they might just be the best repstraps yet!

    Their support material technology is very intriguing. Does the ABS not stick to itself when printed at a certain temperature?

    I wonder if their machine could be adapted to use PLA.

  7. Received a friendly email from them, telling me they printed the Utah Teapot that we put on thingiverse and asking for permission (which is not needed of course, but attribution is...) Happy to see they reacted so quickly on the requests.
    Looks indeed like that feed mechanism was designed by them, it got pulled from TV, I hope it comes back. I must say the quality looks amazing.