Multi-material additive and subtractive prosumer digital fabrication with a free and open-source convertible delta RepRap 3-D printer
Rapid Prototyping Journal
URL with Digital Object Identifier
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present novel modifications to a RepRap design that increase RepRap capabilities well beyond just fused filament fabrication. Open-source RepRap 3-D printers have made distributed manufacturing and prototyping an affordable reality. Design/methodology/approach - The design is a significantly modified derivative of the Rostock delta-style RepRap 3-D printer. Modifications were made that permit easy and rapid repurposing of the platform for milling, paste extrusion and several other applications. All of the designs are open-source and freely available. Findings - In addition to producing fused filament parts, the platform successfully produced milled printed circuit boards, milled plastic objects, objects made with paste extrudates, such as silicone, food stuffs and ceramics, pen plotted works and cut vinyl products. The multi-purpose tool saved 90-97 per cent of the capital costs of functionally equivalent dedicated tools. Research limitations/implications - While the platform was used primarily for production of hobby and consumer goods, research implications are significant, as the tool is so versatile and the fact that the designs are open-source and eminently available for modification for more purpose-specific applications. Practical implications - The platform vastly broadens capabilities of a RepRap machine at an extraordinarily low price, expanding the potential for distributed manufacturing and prototyping of items that heretofore required large financial investments. Originality/value - The unique combination of relatively simple modifications to an existing platform has produced a machine having capabilities far exceeding that of any single commercial product. The platform provides users the ability to work with a wide variety of materials and fabrication methods at a price of less than $1,000, provided users are willing to build the machine themselves.