Feeds

Boffins build self-replicating replicating machine

For £300, so can you, thanks to open sourcery

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

If none of the iPhone cases available suit your needs, then why not make your own? It’s possible, say a team of researchers that have designed a printer capable of making almost anything - including more of itself.

Reprap_01

The RepRap 3D printer can make all sorts of objects, including itself

The Replicating Rapid-prototyper (RepRap) was created by scientists from the University of Bath and is essentially a printer that’s able to build 3D plastic objects, such as door handles. It uses a technique called “additive fabrication” to 'print' thin layers of molten plastic which then solidify. Spray another layer on top of the first, then more layers, and you can make useful objects.

Reprap_02

The parent RepRap gave birth to another RepRap

RepRap has even been used to create another version of itself, essentially seeing the original, or parent, machine create a so-called child version. Although 3D printers aren’t a new concept, the team claims that RepRap is the first such machine able to ‘print’ itself.

The researchers based RepRap on open source software and published tutorials online that describe the machine’s design process. Using its plans, the Bath University team claims a motivated amateur could build themselves a RepRap for around £300 (€380/$590).

Dr Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in engineering at Bath University, oversaw the RepRap project and said the machine allows people to make exactly what they want.

Reprap_03

An iPhone holder made by the RepRap

“If the design of an existing object doesn't quite suit their needs, [users] can easily redesign it on their PC and print that out. They can also print out extra RepRap printers to give to their friends,” added Bowyer.

Vaccum cleaner bigwig Sir James Dyson even sucked-up the courage to publically congratulate the Bath University team on its RepRap success. “It could allow people to change the ergonomics of a design to their own specific needs,” he said.

If you’re inspired to build your own RepRap, then a list of the parts required and details of how then to put them together are available online here.

Website security in corporate America

More from The Register

next story
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Your chance to WIN the WORLD'S ONLY HANDHELD ZX SPECTRUM
Reg staff not allowed to enter, god dammit
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Monitors monitor's monitoring finds touch screens have 0.4% market share
Not four. Point four. Count yer booty again, Microsoft
Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate
Belay that toil, me hearty, and park your scurvy backside
Hey, Mac fanbois. HGST wants you drooling over its HUGE desktop RACK
What vast digital media repository could possibly need 64 TERABYTES?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.