Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prototype Of Machine That Copies Itself Goes On Show

Date:
June 6, 2008
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
A UK researcher who oversees a global effort to develop an open-source machine that 'prints' three-dimensional objects is celebrating after the prototype machine succeeded in making a set of its own printed parts. The machine, named RepRap, works a bit like a printer, but, rather than squirting ink onto paper, it puts down thin layers of molten plastic which solidify

A RepRap machine.
Credit: Image courtesy of RepRap (http://reprap.org)

A University of Bath academic, who oversees a global effort to develop an open-source machine that ‘prints’ three-dimensional objects, is celebrating after the prototype machine succeeded in making a set of its own printed parts. The machine, named RepRap, will be exhibited publicly at the Cheltenham Science Festival (4-8 June 2008).

RepRap is short for replicating rapid-prototyper; it employs a technique called ‘additive fabrication’. The machine works a bit like a printer, but, rather than squirting ink onto paper, it puts down thin layers of molten plastic which solidify. These layers are built up to make useful 3D objects.

RepRap has, so far, been capable of making everyday plastic goods such as door handles, sandals and coat hooks. Now, the machine has also succeeded in copying all its own 3D-printed parts.

These parts have been printed and assembled by RepRap team member, Vik Olliver, in Auckland, New Zealand, into a new RepRap machine that can replicate the same set of parts for yet another RepRap machine and so on ad infinitum. While 3D printers have been available commercially for about 25 years, RepRap is the first that can essentially print itself.

The RepRap research and development project was conceived, and is directed, by Dr Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in engineering in the Faculty of Engineering & Design at the University of Bath, UK.

Dr Bowyer said that: “These days, most people in the developed world run a professional-quality print works, photographic lab and CD-pressing plant in their own house, all courtesy of their home PC. Why shouldn't they also run their own desktop factory capable of making many of the things they presently buy in shops, too?

“The possibilities are endless. Now, people can make exactly what they want. If the design of an existing object does not quite suit their needs, they can easily redesign it on their PC and print that out, instead of making do with a mass-produced second-best design from the shops. They can also print out extra RepRap printers to give to their friends. Then those friends can make what they want too.”

Recently, Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google Inc, encouraged people to: "Think of RepRap as a China on your desktop."

Sir James Dyson, Chief Executive of the Dyson Group, said: “RepRap is a different, revolutionary way of approaching invention. It could allow people to change the ergonomics of a design to their own specific needs.”

Dr Bowyer hopes people will come to the Cheltenham Science Festival and see both the 'parent' and the 'child' RepRap machines in action for the first time together.

"RepRap is the most enjoyable research project I've ever run," he said. "Without the many talented and selfless volunteers the RepRap project has all round the world, it would have never succeeded so quickly."

Complete plans for the prototype RepRap 3D printer and detailed tutorials to aid motivated amateurs (and professionals) in assembling one are available, free-of-charge, at the RepRap website (details below). The materials, plus the minority of parts that the machine cannot print, cost about 300. All those non-printed parts can be bought at hardware shops or from online stores.

RepRap website: http://reprap.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Prototype Of Machine That Copies Itself Goes On Show." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605211522.htm>.
University of Bath. (2008, June 6). Prototype Of Machine That Copies Itself Goes On Show. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605211522.htm
University of Bath. "Prototype Of Machine That Copies Itself Goes On Show." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605211522.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Former TSA X-Ray Scanners Easily Tricked To Miss Weapons

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Researchers found the scanners could be duped simply by placing a weapon off to the side of the body or encasing it under a plastic shield. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Flower Power! Dandelions Make Car Tires?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 20, 2014) Forget rolling on rubber, could car drivers soon be traveling on tires made from dandelions? Teams of scientists are racing to breed a type of the yellow flower whose taproot has a milky fluid with tire-grade rubber particles in it. As Joanna Partridge reports, global tire makers are investing millions in research into a new tire source. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins