Why I bought a £35 3D Printer

Why I bought a £35 3D Printer

10 years ago I heard about a new project at Bath University. They had just invented a new machine which could be used to manufacture another of these machines. It’s name was RepRap. The following year I visited Bath for a course and saw one of what is now known as Darwin.

Ever since I had a desire to build one of these magical machines but had no knowledge, experience or even seen one in action. Over the years I’ve kept looking at the reprap.org site and at the growing number of commercially available 3D printers. Since joining the Basingstoke Makerspace I’ve had the opportunity to use the Ultimaker printer and convinced me I wanted to have my own.

I started looking for a second hand printer, Ebay, Gumtree, Facebook. Many different options were available but the majority were in the style of the Mendel or Prusa designs. My heart was set on the cube design of the original Darwin with the bed moving up and down in the Z axis and the print head moving through the XY space. Although seemingly less popular as a design a number of them are produced, these include the Ultimaker, Tronxy, Makerbot and a plethora of chinese copies. 

Then I found it, based on the original Darwin design and made by a long defunct company called Bits From Bytes, the Rapman. Sold as a kit originally for a starting price of $1400, almost 10 years on since it was made I finally had my Darwin clone and for just 2.5% of its original value.

The eBay listing said it was complete but hadn’t been used so sold as spares or repair. On the basis that I was considering building from scratch anyway I decided to take a punt and give it a try.

Check out my next post for progress on getting it running.


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