Thursday 1 November 2012

Yearly RepRap adventures roundup 2012

Another year of RepRapping development adventures is over (for some historic reason my development season runs from October to the end of September each year)

In the last year’s roundup (2010-2011) I had the following to say – Link if you need a reminder.

This last 12 months have been intense and exciting and what a lot of changes this blossoming industry has seen.

Things I’m glad I got on and finished – (is anything ever finished?)

  • Universal paste and Chocolate printing, I had been thinking about this for well over a year before actually starting any testing, it was a good learning curve in 3D design (Sketchup) and iterative model testing.
    • I have countless people ask me about Chocolate printing!
    • It has had quite a few revisions and design changes by other people for other machines and bigger syringes
    • Parametric! Version by BonsaiBrain ( - See Thingiverse for details

If you have not yet seen the wonderful video by RepRapBCN, take a look below!

  • The 3way extruder Colour blending, lots of further potential, great fun doing it and seeing the first prints.

Joris Van Tubergen also made a 3 filament extruder, but his goal was to be able to extrude more filament for the amazing Kamermaker project his aim is to be able to extrude 1kg and eventually 5kg/hour of plastic.

Switching across to Slic3r and doing the tutorials was a good experience.
Part1 - Settings and extruder calibration
Part 2 - Filament calibrating and printing
Part 3 - How low can you go? - printing with small layers

I have been meaning to mention the various translations of the Slic3r tutorials out there and also a new getting started guide by Ivan Bortolin and Lorenzo Cantini - the main website Can be found here
The new guide in English PDF and Italian Here

Other translations of my Slic3r tutorials and extended work can be found in Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Italian. - if you know of more do let me know.

Slic3r continues to move on and get stronger with more people using it every month.
If we had 3D printing awards Slic3r would get my vote for first place. My warmest thanks go to Alessandro for bringing Slic3r to all of us.

30 Days of creativity – Was hard work, but a very good focus for getting things started and having some fun with my printer.

I have really enjoyed printing more things for my kids this year, they love them!

It’s certainly easier when you have more than one printer up and running.

More group meetings with local RepRappers – it’s been a great year for getting people up and running.

Things I have not finished quite yet –

  • Geared Peristaltic Pump – I have grand plans, and it's working so well but it’s going to take more time before I can get back onto this. Keep an eye out on this development, I'm planning a dedicated printer to use it for something interesting.

  • Ceramic Printing, I had all the best intentions to do more ceramic printing, Precious metal clay printing and ‘other’ materials, but just not had the time to set it up again and have a good run at it. – When I think back I did the whole paste extruder development in about 2 weeks. - New 'RepRap year' resolution - 'find, use and develop more materials to 3D print with'

  • Further rounds of Polycarbonate printing, I started and then got side-tracked. I’ll pick it up again at some point along with other sorts of materials (Like Laywood).

  • My own machine development – Again started, many things worked out, but everything moves so fast it always needs a little rethink.
  • My design looks a little like the TK-O from LulzBot (Aleph objects), so I may take some more inspiration from that to finish-off my 'ultimate 3D printing machine'.
  • Recent time has been taken up with Rostock (see below) so what I learn from that and seeing how the TK-0 develops can go into the next revision

  • Rostock+, doing it now, but stalled a little for the last 6 weeks, need to build some more electronics. 
    • The ‘Plus’ part is for the use of Spectra fishing line (Like Tantillus below) instead of belts and pulleys, should look cool and be FAST!

  • More tutorials and guides, I have started some, it’ll be easier to focus on them in the winter, but I want to make it easier for people to get good 3D printing results and understand more things about the process. > Still learning every day myself!

Things I wish I had more time/resources for –

  • Actual 3D modelling and design, I’m planning to spend more time over winter doing 3D design and modelling, some organic and creative, other things more technical.
  • I want to learn Autocad123D as I have failed to spend any time with it this year – if anyone knows any good starting guide? – I have not really used the Autocad interface and I find it quite counter intuitive.

  • I have been inspired with so many works of 3D printing Art this year, far too many to mention, but ones you should really take a look at are the beautiful works by @Dizingof , the mechanical wonder of the planetary gears by aubenc and very stunning Trilobite’s! by AuntDaisy


  • Print challenges are Great! - (link to the RepRap forum printing challenges section
    • I love to print tricky models, it takes time to work out the best settings and it’s often different for each complex object, but hopefully we will continue to do challenges – they are a great way to learn ‘how to 3D print’

  • I do wish I had more time to meet more of the 3D printing community; we need a few more places to meet up during the next year. Any ideas? maybe video links?

  • Visiting more printing events and shows, they are great, but take time and money to attend. And are not very family friendly L very disappointed I could not make the London3Dprintshow and the 3D printing event in Eindhoven, but I did make it to a few events.

  • I also didn't use IRC as much as I wanted, started off the year using it, then also started on Twitter and didn't have the time to do both along with doing actual physical developments of things.
    • But I’ll get back on IRC soon, it’s a great community.

  • I answer a lot of e-mails and messages, and try to help people as much as I can, recently the RepRap forum has boomed with new people and questions; it’s hard to keep up!

  • I started a dedicated website (, with the idea to show projects, tutorials, guides and general RepRap related developments. It needs more time spent on it, but it’s a start.

  • Software development, I should spend more time refining some of my developments (3way extruder to be automatic, more firmware integration) I need enough long periods of time to focus on it.
Things I have not started yet (but are on my list) –

  • Electronics – I was sure I would have time to do some real electronics development this year, but again so many new boards popped up, my own plans didn't need as much attention as I had thought- still we are some way off a real plug and play solution.
  • A really big printer! – I really wanted to do something like the Kamermaker (room builder) - cost, space and time just let me down, but I still have a vision for something not quite as big...
  • Concrete/cement printing – I’m seriously thinking about a good way to do this - anyone want to help me make it a reality?

  • Loss wax casting (with PLA) – Some good examples this year, would love to give it a go.

  • Resin printing – Almost got motivated to start on a LemonCurry, again didn't get time past reading all about the great project. – Interesting to see the Formlabs printer using a Laser and Resin just got over $2.9 Million on Kickstarter, Wow!

  • Experimenting with new support materials – I did just start doing this, some interesting results with sugar, needs a lot more work, Sugar seems very compatible with PLA.

  • Wax printing – Still not sure how best to move forwards with this – maybe try a new design of my heated universal paste extruder, it should work.
  • A Portable 3D printer - I still don’t have a true portable printer (folding or just easy to carry) – finishing Tantillus is my best option for the moment.

  • Lasers! – Powder and Sintering – I doubt I’ll be able to work on this area anytime soon! But it’s on the list!

I would still like to buy a new Lathe; still saving up…a few people have offered to help me out with new things needing machining – Thank you.

+++ Lots of stuff I have not even thought of yet !

Final thoughts - 

So, I have had some real proud moments in my 2012 RepRap developments; I have had fantastic people from all walks of life contact me. My work has been featured on lots of blogs and in magazines, interviewed, mentioned and cited in reports and academic works. I have done presentations and uploaded work and videos to university intranets and had people translate my projects into different languages.
Thank you all.

This is all open-source and as a hobby on a very teeny tiny budget, and I’m just one of many makers doing lots of things in this Great community.

The next development cycle has now started, I have some big goals for the next 12 months, no one knows where 3D printing is heading, and what it will look like in a further year, but it will continue to be exciting.

If you can make it, come and join us at Cheltenham Geeks in November, It's free but with limited spaces, go and register now over at Hamish and I will be presenting an evening of RepRap fun and developments, along with 3D printing demo's and beer, what more could you want? 

Thanks for reading; I hope you are enjoying the adventure, See you soon for more.



  1. I hoped so much to meet you at 3DPrintShow!

    Probably it will happen 2013 that we run into each other... keep up your great work & energy until then ;)

    Greetings from Germany

    1. Thanks Florian.

      I'm sure we are destined to meet at some point, I'll be at as many shows and events as I can in 2013!

      You keep going too, It's going to be another exciting year!

      Best Regards,


  2. Someone just reminded me that I didn't mention the Quick-Fit X-Carriage and Extruder development - they seem to have become quite popular -

    Quite a lot of Derivatives now! Cool.

  3. Better than the Archers, I wouldn't miss an episode.

  4. Good idea to write a yearly round up! Great amount of projects (maybe too much?), it's always a pleasure to read about your works! Keep going, dude! ;)

  5. Reprappers, Good to supply open source printers world wide,167256


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