As part of my continuing adventures with a 3D printer, my next project is printing an actual 3D printer, the opensource Prusa Mendel, a Reprap derivative. Well, printing a good portion of it anyways.
Aside from a larger build platform which utilizes a slightly different way of printing from my MakerBot (both the extruder and build platform move at the same time vs just the build plafform on the MakerBot), I’ll use it to print with PLA filament which is corn based instead of ABS plastic. As well, I’ll be using a smaller, thinner filament size (1.75mm vs the 3mm ABS I’m using with the MakerBot). PLA smells like candy when it’s being extruded and is bio-degradable too! Unfortunately, it’s not food grade so you can’t print candy..yet!
During the recent Vancouver Maker Faire, I got to see a number of Reprap printers up close, including those built and maintained by Wade himself, the man behind the geared extruder design I’m going to be using.
Total cost should be ~$500.
I found this incredibly detailed video of the process of printing with the Prusa Mendel on YouTube that should give you some more information if you’re curious about the Prusa:
Update: Already have Wade’s Geared Extruder printed:
Turned out awesome in Nuclear Green…the whole Prusa will be printed in this color of ABS. Printing the gear with 50% infill seems like a good torture test of any 3d printer: