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RepRapPro 3D printing

RepRapPro 3D printing, not wrapped up but looming reality

I only recently heard about 3D printing and the potential of it being incorporated in to our daily lives. The technology has been around for 30 plus years but it’s only more recent that it has really become accessible to other users like engineers and smaller manufacturers as opposed to only big manufacturers or for R&D purposes.

We recently announced the distribution agreement with RepRapPro Ltd which means we are able to deliver affordable, open-source-self-replicating 3D printing technology to engineers. Some even suggest that the 3D technology may be the cause of a new revolution, presenting itself as “the era of manufacturing”.

3D printing is being used in all sorts of industries from food to medical and everything in-between. Enthusiasts even imagine that in the not too distant future most things in our homes will be “home-made”, printed with our very own 3D printers. What a thought!

There has been lots of talk around 3D technology. In the medical field for example there has even been talk of crossing an ethical line as research continues and discussions commence about Bio printing. Bio printing is the technology whereby human tissue can be printed. I can however not help but wonder if you are really crossing an ethical line when it is about printing body parts or rather soft tissue organs like an ear or kidney as I am of the opinion that you may have been “blessed” with the ability to create something that can save and change lives. This technology has already helped people medically and there is a great deal of research still being done around printed tissue so we will have to wait and see where it leads.

This is a hot topic and the outcome could be phenomenal if it becomes an all round reality.

3D printing in the manufacturing industry is already a big reality and is proving to be a great asset. RS making 3D printers available to engineers allows smaller manufacturers and designers to save a lot of time and money within the design cycle as it cuts out the long waiting period for prototypes which also means a cut in the cost of these prototypes.

RS has already sold 500 limited edition printers very quickly and is now continuing to make available the Ormerod printing kits at a very affordable price. The printer can be used with the free DesignSpark mechanical 3D modelling software co-developed by RS and SpaceClaim which will enable engineers to develop sophisticated products quickly and cost effectively.

It may take a bit of time to put your printer together. It comes as parts, requires self assembly and it has been said that it can be a complex build. So even though it might be a bit of a challenge at first, may require some modifications, may require you to ask some questions and so forth, it could still be an exciting challenge for the enthusiasts and engineers. And the time with your printer will allow you the opportunity to get to know it and learn to understand how it works. Once you are done with the set-up though, I can only see it being a great deal of fun and prove to be of great advantage. I also think that even though it might require a few days to put together, you are still getting a great deal considering what it can do and considering a very reasonable cost.

The Ormerod uses the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) process to build 3D objects in a range of plastics and in a variety of colours. This process enables the user to create almost any shape that can be modelled on a computer, including some that cannot be produced by traditional manufacturing techniques at all. The prospect is exciting and I cannot wait to see where this new “break-through” technology may lead us!