The campaign is finished for this time, thanks to the 52 contributors from all over the world !
If you are still interested and patient, leave me a message and I'll recontact you for the second small batch.
The 2nd batch on Goteo is over !
Pre-orders are open on 3D Print Skin :)
The FoldaRap is an open-source 3d-Printer, easy to assemble, and most important : foldable to bring it anywhere !
3D-Printer, RepRap, what's all about ?
3D-Printing is an additive manufacturing process : layers of plastic are successively laid down to produce objects relatively quickly. That allow to produce some pieces that would have been difficult to make with conventional processes (machining, injection), and contrary to molding there is no tooling.
Hence it is often compared to our traditional printers : with a digital file and a raw material we can make all sort of things at demand (fused plastic replacing the paper+ink), simply by changing the file sent to "print". We are still far from the Star Trek Replicator, but on the way... I invite you to watch and re-watch that nice little video for a larger overview of what that could change : Full Printed.
The technology of 3D-Printing is not new, but there have been a big change around 2006 : the team of the Dr. Adrian Bowyer (Bath University, UK) made the firsts RepRap (Replicating Rapid Prototyper) - a 3D-Printer which can prints some of it's own parts.
However, the beauty of this invention is not in itself rather than having chosen an open-source license (GPL). Quickly a vibrant community arose around this project, the propagation became exponential and variations started to flourish (see the RepRap Family Tree).
A technology which was only accessible to the industry and big companies is now at hand of any enthusiast tinkerer. While 3D-printing make it's way in the garages and homes, people starts to make or try lots of things by themselves, more or less useful but sometimes truly practical when it came to fix stuff or for custom-made parts. Looking at a sharing platform like Thingiverse reveal how creative everyone can be... what do you imagine then ?
FoldaRap, The Folding RepRap
The idea of the FoldaRap came from the experience gained through different RepRaps and others machines that I built. But mostly from several Bootcamps that pushed me to develop a version that would be really transportable (in it's flightcase we could even ship it by plane, or just for storing it under the desk when not used).
Main features :
- Made with robust aluminium extrusions
- Max print volume of 140 x 140 x 140 mm (consumable : PLA filament of 1,75mm)
- Easy to assemble
- All the electronics are safely enclosed in the base, connected via USB
- Works with open-source softwares that run on windows, mac, linux
- Use common standards formats of the industry (STL, AMF, OBJ)
That took me 5-7 months (easily more than 500 hours) to develop this project. Fortunately I could build upon the shoulders of others. To perpetuate that virtuous circle I also redistributed everything, since the very beginning, under the same open-source license. I also wanted to include a detailed BOM, a thing that I wish I could have seen more often in other projects.
I documented the FoldaRap along my progression, from the very first sketch through every trials and errors... so there is already lots of thing to see on the wiki page for understanding how it works.
But it's just a beginning ! I planned to improve it, ideally by making a sort of lego-like build manual.
For who is this project ?
I firstly thought to aim for experienced users, already having a 3d-printer or aware of the personal manufacturing trend, the maker movement, FabLabs, etc. and the potential revolution they represent.
Nonetheless, I designed the FoldaRap to be as easy as possible to build : you need few tools, and there is no distance to check during the assembly thanks to the push-fit strategy, making it easier to build than the previous models.
While today it take a week to construct a classic RepRap and print something correct, the FoldaRap can be built in a day or two. With a kit well made we may even lower that time to few hours (if the campaign exceed the initial goal I will even try blind-folded)
Another advantage of a foldable RepRap : you can easily ship it assembled by regular postage - an interesting option for those who don't have the desire or the time to build and calibrate themselves a 3d-printer.
To conclude : the FoldaRap is for both the neophytes and experienced users.
If you're interested by this machine, keep in mind that the kit's preparation will take some times - but I will not miss to keep you informed of my regular progress :)
Hoping Foldaraps will then replicate themselves in the wild... I can tell you there is a dedicated reprap forum in the community, to continue the discussion, share future build logs of each of you, or to talk about precise points,... It's here : forums.reprap.org !
What will the funds be used for?
This campaign have multiple aims : funds new prototypes, make bulk orders, find beta-testers and spread this project.
1) Make bulk orders
Bulk orders makes small savings on scale, and huge savings on taxes and shipping. Between buying one power supply to a reseller or ten at a manufacturer the choice is quickly made.
Preparing to build several machines will allow me to offer kits at a reasonable price.
2) Fund new prototypes
The model #000 is already operational - like some of you may have seen during various events - but I have other ideas to test ! That prototype cost me roughly 600€ but 150€ in taxes+shipping, bulk ordering will be good to have an easier access to the needed resources to improve the FoldaRap project.
3) Spread the project
As any open-source project, the FoldaRap can only progress if a community build itself around it. With that crowd-funding and the machines that will be made, I hope to disseminate the seeds of the community in which the project could evolve.
I think I've given a lot of myself until then. Today I need a little help from you. And even if I only told you about the FoldaRap for now, your support is also encouraging me in other projects in the same spirit, as to make a FabLab that fits in two luggages ;-)
About the project owner
I'm Emmanuel Gilloz, designer-geek-idealist :)
A little more detailled :
When I was a child I wanted to be a tinkerer and save the world.
Today I'm part of the Makers movement, and this enthusiastic generation who don't want to let the world as it is. In order to progress each day toward the ideal of a more distributed and cooperative society.
I try to design less objects than environments/tools that will allow people to design their own solution. That led me to contribute to the creation of several FabLabs/Makerspaces in France and Africa, and to met a lot of great people.
About the RepRap project :http://reprap.org/wiki/User:Emmanuel
I heard about it in 2009, somewhere on the Internet... One year later, after having read a lot of things and saved some money, I started to build a Mendel (the second RepRap generation at this time), but it was way harder than today : it took me 6 months to finish the machine and print a first thing.
Later I had the occasion to build many more machines, Prusa, Orca, Huxley,etc. (and spent hundreds euros in that hobby^^').
Following a discussion with a friend I started to design the complete RepRap genealogy, by curiosity and to show the power of the community : RepRap Family Tree (you may have already seen it on the Makezine's blog)
Open-source powa !