For hobbyists, the manufacturing tools at hand are often limited to the odd dremel, screwdrivers and hammers. Materials are usually sheets of wood, polycarbonate or metal. The RepRap project is all about changing this. Now you can print your own 3D models in plastic.
To quote the RepRap welcome page:
RepRap is about making self-replicating machines, and making them freely available for the benefit of everyone. We are using 3D printing to do this, but if you have other technologies that can copy themselves and that can be made freely available to all, then this is the place for you too.
The Darwin, Prusa Mendel and Huxley models are freely available as drawings and source code, so you can actually build one yourself. The custom parts are printable, so you can buy these from a fellow RepRapper, or build what is known as a RepStrap, to print them yourself.
In the coming weeks we will look at some 3D printer projects and show you how to get your own printer, how to setup the software for the printing and how to find things to print. In the mean time, take a few minutes to watch this film introducing the RepRap project.