Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Meet the Robisons and Their Low-Cost RepRap Kit (Video) 67

Posted by Roblimo
from the today-3D-tomorrow-4D-with-5D-the-day-after dept.
It seems like less than an hour since Slashdot ran a Report From HOPE: The State of Community Fabrication. Now we have a video about a Massachusetts mother and son team we met at HOPE that had so much trouble with commercial RepRap machines that they designed their own and started marketing it under the name Robison Industries, a company they seem to be starting on the fly that uses their local hackerspace as its manufacturing location. Interested in RepRap? Maybe not yet, but as devotees of the concept point out, nobody outside a small circle of geeks was interested in personal computers at first, but they're ubiquitous today. Will we all have 3D printers on our desks in a few years? Good question. round us up in 2020 or 2025 at our local hackerspace and we may have an answer for you.

For those interesting in further reading, a selection of links mentioned in the video:

Don't forget: Slashdot welcomes reader video submissions. Email robin at for info.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Meet the Robisons and Their Low-Cost RepRap Kit (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • Bender says (Score:4, Funny)

    by Guano_Jim (157555) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @01:59PM (#40701643)

    Fine, I'm gonna make my own 3D printer! With blackjack! And hookers!

    In fact, forget the 3D printer.

  • For the initial RepRap it seems to be about 350€ of material? Which, to me seems quite OK (especially when 70€ of that is VAT.)

    from here: []

    What am I missing?

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      a place to order?

      seriously, could someone hook me up with a reprap, makerbot replicator etc to order within eu with shipping to finland? I got money to burn on one but finding out a reputable place that has stock seems hard?

  • by kotku (249450) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:06PM (#40701775) Journal

    All the product designers and manufacturers of real products are going to have their products stolen and made by freeloaders at home. It will be the total and irreversible end of creativity and innovation. It must be stopped.

    • by acidfast7 (551610)

      Which will, in turn, force a return to the classics, which is nice.

      Stuff that can't be made easily.

      Take Eames chairs made out of molded plywood. They're classic, they're comfortable and that can't be made/imitated that easily.

    • by sgrover (1167171)

      Sure, one *could* create a model and then print something that is commercially available. What really happens though is that people create the parts that they need that the commercial entities are not selling. Like a broken plastic piece to a cargo area cover. The vendor's solution is to spend the $500ish on a new cargo area cover. The printer owner's solution is to create a model and print out $0.30 worth of plastic to fix the existing cover. In this sense, the vendor's game has to change, or at least

      • "At the moment, 3D Printing tends to be focusing on "cool trinkets", but I'm seeing a gradual shift to practical items too. "

        How about making 3D printer parts?

        • by sgrover (1167171)

          3D Printer parts falls under both categories. Or collectively as "cool practical trinkets".

      • by iphinome (810750)

        Someone needs to 3d model some sewing machine feet. Small, useful (to people who sew), not always easy to find. And the little plastic scissor parts in notebook keyboards, the little guns and swords kids lose form their action figures, crochet hooks.....

        I really should take the time to learn one of the many 3d modeling programs out there.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I doubt a 3D printer can achieve the economies of scale of traditional molding of plastic parts. There's also going to be a lot of parts which simply cannot be printed, eg. motors, heating elements, etc. You also have to factor in the construction times. Not everybody lives in a basement and has ten hours a day free for hacking about (I wish I did!)

      In short, commercial producers will always have an edge over home made.

      • by Anomalyst (742352)
        It will excel at making that $111.00 plastic part from the dealer for your car with an expenditure of a little effort and a couple bucks of feed stock. Just cuz it was cheap to make thousands at a crack a couple years ago doesn't mean that those savings are will be passed on to the consumer.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          If that ever happens the car manufacturers will counter with parts that are more difficult to reproduce.

      • by Sentrion (964745)

        Obviously even the best and most advanced yet affordable 3D printers won't mean that people could just print out every product they ever needed. But even in our mass-produced world, final production of many products is just a process of assembling - by hand - several stamped, machined, forged, or molded components. The possibility that I could mold many of my own components, and the possibility that I could download and upload drawings, designs, instructions, and codes to print such components could help

        • except when it becomes as easy for people to toss broken objects into a hopper and see them reconstituted as a complete object. We are conditioned by traditional manufacturing techniques to regard objects as *finished,* ie. they cannot be changed after purchase. But if you fast-forward to a 3-D printing universe, then all those assumptions are undone.

          We are talking about a future in which you can toss a "finished" product into a 3-D printer hopper and have it outputted to a customized form thanks to a do

    • by Atrox666 (957601)

      Hurry the hell up I wanna download a car.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      All the product designers and manufacturers of real products are going to have their products stolen and made by freeloaders at home. It will be the total and irreversible end of creativity and innovation. It must be stopped.

      You laugh, but DMCA takedowns have already happened [] to sites hosting 3D shape files.

      Many of these community sites aren't actually ready to handle stuff like this, either.

  • What are their users? Reprapers? Reprapists?

  • I'd be more interested in 3D printers if they didn't cost $500+ for even the cheapest models. Even DIY kits are several hundred dollars. I think they'd be much more likely to catch on if they started in the $100-$200 impulse buy range.

    • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:24PM (#40702699)

      Five hundred bucks IS in the "impulse buy" range for many consumer goods.

      A hundred or two hundred bucks nowadays won't get you many tools of any sort.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Five hundred bucks IS in the "impulse buy" range for many consumer goods.

        Sure, if you've got money pouring out of your asshole. It's also half a month's rent, or a couple car payments, or a mortgage payment if you don't have a fat, short mortgage. Shit, I could get a functional used car for that around here. That's a lot of money for an impulse buy. Whether it's a lot of money for a 3d printer is a separate issue.

        Five hundred bucks will get you a pretty decent auto scan tool. Five hundred bucks will get you a great used lathe. Five hundred bucks is enough to buy an old, sloppy m

        • So save your pennies and instead head off to a maker space or other shared tool environment and get out of the benefit at a cost lower than $500 bucks.

          Hell, even if you can afford it, spend money at a maker space. I can fairly easily afford to buy some expensive kit on only a bit more than a whim, but by and large I don't because I don't feel that personally owning it would be worth the hassle, and I would much rather support a community space with my money because it means a LOT more people benefit from yo

      • by thesandtiger (819476) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @04:37PM (#40703771)

        $75 a month will get you monthly membership in most maker spaces actually.

        Ever you are in a position where dropping $500 on a whim is feasible, in many cases you would get more bang for your buck and do a lot more benefit from supporting your local maker community, and helping people who have good ideas but not enough money themselves to buy tools to make those ideas happen. Everyone wins, and you can spend your money on other impulse stuff :D

    • by TheCarp (96830) <{sjc} {at} {}> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:39PM (#40702911) Homepage

      I paid over $900 for the kit I built mine from. Worth every penny if you ask me. In fact, I am already seeing the benefits of rapid design. I went from having never done any sort of 3d modeling or design apart from with hand tools to making my own custom parts pretty quick.

      More than that, its the rapid prototyping that ROCKS. Its not just that I can design a part and have it made. I always could do that if I wanted to spend the money...but I can design it... print it (in whole or part) and see the results in minutes or hours not days or weeks. Just last night I stopped a print after 20 minutes because the entire subpart I needed to test was done enough for my purposes.

      I can go through 4-5 design iterations in 1 night with design features that would have otherwise required special equipment and more time. I can print out threaded parts, with no need to tap or turn them.

      A bit much for an impulse buy, but, do you really think a tool like this is the sort of thing you should impulse buy? They are really amazing tools, and limited mostly by your imagination.

      That said, they take time to learn how to use effectively, and a fair amount of manual tinkering. Want one that doesn't? Expect to pay ALOT more...and even then... a friend of mine has a professional model where he works. Its not that it takes no tinkering, its just that, at the price they pay for it, its worth it to pay some guy to come out and do the tinkering for you.

      getting it down to that range, I am not going to say is a bad thing, but, it just means there will be more of them, sitting in boxes, collecting dust, and otherwise, in the posession of people who played with them for a week and then lost interest....

      True it would put them, faster, into the hands of those who really want them and will use them but can't afford one right now, but, what will you be putting in their hands for that price?

      All that said, there is a CNC milling machine the Mantis-9 that could be realized somewhere in that price range (havn't priced out the electronics, but the non-electronic hardware is $100... another $100-200 for electronics depending on the options, though possibly less)

      With that you can mill PCB to make custom circuit boards.... with the same benefits... rapid prototyping.

      Will I make end final parts on it? Sure, why not? Already do, already printed a nice little figurine for the wife (Crest of Hyrule!)... but...its real win is in rapid prototyping.

      • by Applekid (993327)

        getting it down to that range, I am not going to say is a bad thing, but, it just means there will be more of them, sitting in boxes, collecting dust, and otherwise, in the posession of people who played with them for a week and then lost interest....

        That would actually be great: you don't really see a lot of second-hand 3D printers on the market!

    • by Applekid (993327)

      Of course they'd catch on better if they were cheaper. If you had 1 cent beers you'd have a lot of takers, too. :)

      As far as hobbies go, there are far more expensive ones than 3d printing. But I can imagine it's hard to be convinced to take the plunge if no one around you already has.

  • Seems like less than an hour

    Posted by Unknown Lamer on 12:30 PM July 19th, 2012
    from the car-piracy-for-fun-and-profit dept.

    Posted by Roblimo on 12:48 PM July 19th, 2012
    from the today-3D-tomorrow-4D-with-5D-the-day-after dept.

    I dunno Rob. To me that *IS* less than an hour. Hell, it's 18 minutes.

    Why not try for a bit of accuracy in your pseudojournalism?

  • Do RepRap machines, as open as they are, suffer from Ken Thompson's Trusting Trust [] problem? I suppose once the integration is sophisticated enough to incorporate the controller software in the replication process that it could, for example, recognize any tumbler-style lock device being printed and surreptitiously modify the design during printing to include support for a special master key. Is there a lower-level analog to the compiler problem that involves only subtle changes to the hardware elements?

  • by romco (61131) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:50PM (#40703091) Homepage

    I have a reprap on my desk. Last week I printed an adaptor for a new ssd harddrive and and couple of mike clips. I use it all the time. Cost me ~$500 to build and about a weeks tinkering to get it right. I could get one tweeked in a day or less now.

    I dont recommend buying a built one as they are still at the model "T" stage and require a lot of tinkering to get them going. If you build it all the tinkering will make sense.

    In the video they have a original mendel. []

      If you are starting out I recommend a Prusa Mendel, cheaper and better. []

    your first step is to go to IRC and look up #reprap in Freenode and talk to the people in the room. Its not uncommon to find the very people who are designing these (Like Mr. Prusa) in the room.

  • Everybody has a computer nowadays, but no everyone writes a Linux. Not everyone will be creating stuff in 30 years with a printer.

  • what the fuck is a reprap aside from just one more attempt to sneak another makerbot story into slashdot
    • RepRap is the only fabber of which I'm aware that can print much of the pieces necessary to build another instance of itself.

      Sneaking a personal fabber story onto Slashdot? That would seem to be like sneaking a piece about an upcoming astronomic event onto NASA's page. Why the beef?

    • Reprap came first, mate. Makerbot is a spinoff from one of the core members which has now been taken over.

  • I believe the guy showing off the guitar is John Elder Robison, author of "Look me in the Eye" and brother of the author of "Running with Scissors." I highly recommend Look me in the Eye; not only for it's stories of being a roadie for the band but it's look into life with Aspergers.
  • Will we all have 3D printers on our desks in a few years? Good question. round us up in 2020 or 2025 at our local hackerspace and we may have an answer for you.

    If by "2020 or 2025" you still have to round people up at a "local hackerspace" to get information on the how who is using 3D printers, the answer to the question posed in the first sentence is "No."

  • I thought they were Lost in Space []. And, as I recall, the series never did come to any sort of adequate closure.
  • A post on recent /. thread said: "RepRaps can make only a tiny fraction of the parts needed to build another RepRap. They can't build transistors, microcontrollers, capacitors, stepper motors, wire, and so forth."

    So I am just wondering is anybody working on an open source system that really can do all that? I guess it works like this:
    stage 1 replicator - means it makes some limited number of parts, you assemble
    stage 2 replicator - requires you provide a supply of special parts to the machine, and it assemb

    • by vik (17857)

      So, seeing as the human body needs to ingest roughly 35% of its essential substances because it can't make them, where do humans fit on your scale?

      • by mattr (78516)

        This wasn't a deeply thought proposed scale and the writing is vague, sorry.
        The stage 3 I suggested above means that the assembler takes in raw materials, in other words no preassembled parts.
        I was imagining a bunch of racks that can hold simple motors, switches, ic chips and other complex parts that a stage 2 replicator would be able to automatically select and assemble into the finished product.
        For biological systems of course there is a gray area between stage 2 and stage 3, depending on if you consider

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes(well kinda), though they're going a little beyond rep-raps...

    • Irrelevant at this stage. What we need first is better support for plastic. I want a hopper that re-extrudes spent ABS into fresh filament.
      • by Applekid (993327)

        Irrelevant at this stage. What we need first is better support for plastic. I want a hopper that re-extrudes spent ABS into fresh filament. [] is your bag, then. Right now it's only making filament from granules, though. Even with a grinder, they're going to have to deal with needing the re-addition of volatile chemicals that are currently lost during printing.

        As far as plastics, there is loads of work being done. PLA (biodegradeable polymer), PVA (water soluble), Polycarbonate, even Nylon are successfully being extruded and printed.

        • PLA is plant-derived, I don't know if it's biodegradable. It's also a bad idea to mix PLA into recyclable plastics, so PLA becomes non-recyclable and can taint recyclable petrol plastic stock. Mind you a mass shift to PLA would be ideal, but we'd need a PLA compatible alternative to ABS; ABS has much better physical properties than PLA. Plastic parts aren't all inferior to the task--ABS can hold up to significant heat and force, which makes it an attractive replacement to metal in some situations. Obvio

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain