If you can proint 3D objects at home, that may be the end of Walmart. Yes – RepRap – the DIY open source 3D printer – is a major political statement.
You can actually use RepRap to recycle – by reusing plastics as feedstocks for RepRap.
My encounter with RepRap, in the aftermath of the Oekonux trip – was transformative. This space age stuff is real – and it works – today. You can use RepRap to print a copy of all the non-metal components to make another RepRap. For a total of $400 in materials, you’ve got yourself another RepRap. At 0.1 millimeter positioning accuracy, RepRap is not just a toy.
Listen to my interview with Chris Palmer – one of the RepRap developers – who is known more for his well-documented HydraRaptor project – which is a more advanced version of RepRap.
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For Factor e Farm, RepRap will have a number of applications.
One great example – which involves mixing technology and ecology – is that we’ll be able to print our own grafting tool for propagating fruit trees. The complex geometry of the grafting tool
makes it a perfect candidate for printing with a computer-controlled 3D printer. Another great application will be printing our own plumbing/air/industrial fittings of all sorts. If you have experience with fittings, you know the difficulties involved with working with hundreds of types of fittings of different standards – there are interconnectivity issues. If we print our own, we can eliminate these issues by design. In particular – we will be able to make our own self-tapping (blind) fittings and quick disconnect fittings – priceless items if you’re focused on modular design.
Just the other day I had to go to the store to get a 2 inch PVC cap for our rainwater collection system. I wouldn’t have to make this trip if I had RepRap. Our plan is for Edward Miller, one of our True Fans, to visit for the summer and leave us with a working copy fo RepRap. Chris Palmer will print a copy of the parts. We will end up developing an open business model where people can produce RepRaps for others and we’ll create a weekend workshop where you build your own RepRap.
Here are some more questions answered by Chris on RepRap and HydraRaptor – namely – accuracy, the extruder head, and the different tool heads that will be used with both devices.
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On a different topic, we have 38 True Fans right now. Please consider subscribing
to support this important work. We’ve seen the limits of the True Fans campaign – and we know that we’ll get a major spike of interest once CEB Prototype 2 is done in the next few weeks. We’re shaking down final design issues. Join our CEB development forum
. We’re also formulating the OSE Prospectus for investors interested in helping to bring any of our products to market. The basic program is that we can collaborate with each other – as opposed to competing with each other – so that products are developed and anyone can produce/market them according to an open business model. Sam Rose
is developing a systematic way to document those business models. Inquire further by emailing us at opensourceecology at gmail dot com if you’d like to invest. There are opportunities whereby, if you invest in development, we’re willing to share the value generated – on a case-by-case basis according to who we’re working with. Yes, this is a chance to move beyond Walmart into local production.
Walmart may be around for some time to come – but personally – I’d like to see an increase in local production. This is – simply – because it’s possible.
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