David Saint John explains how it works at the Design Expo 11/11
Photo by Victoria Currier Fryer, M&NE, PSU

Spring 2013 offering is EDSGN 494-003 Open Source 3D Printing
3 credits TuTh ~ 5:30-7:30.  Cap 12
It is 80% hands-on, build-and-test, and redesign projects, but some students may focus on making models for design teams in design courses.
Marcie Rengifo, Integrated Arts, adjusts a Mendel
RepRap is an open source movement for making 3-D printers that was started by Professor Adrian Bowyer at the University of Bath in 2005. The core body of knowledge is developed globally and freely available.  At Penn State it is based in 312 Hammond and is a course each fall, EDSGN 497C: Open Source 3D printing, and an R&D project EDSGN 494-004: Penn State RepRap is available year-round for variable credit but especially in the spring semesters when it functions much like the class with about 20+ students. Most activity is TuTh 5:30-8:00pm, but students have card access to the lab so they can match their work to their free time.
Links     Penn State/State College Users Group    RepRap.org  This website   Brochure: Attachment Bro_Fall11.pub
                "Self Replicating, Open Source, Rapid Prototyping in the Engineering Classroom"   Scribd

The 3D Print Team printing service for products and prototypes. See the Printaverse upload site, andattached brochure printer_flier_bsrd

Grading Scheme. We use a system of gaining experience points as in some video games. It was devised by Lee Sheldon, who modeled it on The World of Warcraft. We do not use that language, but the idea is the same. Students start with an F, that is zero points, and control their grade though the projects they take on and the experience (XP) points that they get. The students seem to respond very well. Chronicle of Higher Ed.
 RepRap Advantages   

RepRap 3-D printers are very low cost to build and they can make many of their own parts (at least partially self-replicating) and others are off the shelf parts available in hardware stores. An entry level commercial printer like Z-Corps starts at $15K. A RepRap kit from TechZone costs ~$850. Feed stock (PLA) from, say, Ultimachine, and some fairly conventional low cost tools may run the total cost to about $1,000, not counting labor. That is about 4% of a Z -corps, which also has an expensive service contract and expensive patented materials for the feed stock.  With self-replication, local sourcing, and the re-use of tools, the costs can come down to around 3%, or ~$600. If labor costs are included the cost may be 100-150% higher, but students can get academic credit while they build these machines and hobbyists do not count their hours.  And the total cost is still less than 10% of the commercial printers, while offering many other advantages.

Repraps are small and even with a computer take less than 10 square feet. Commercial rapid prototypers take up to 10 times that space for all their units. However, they may be scaled up to be very large machines and there is discussion and some trials of printing buildings - part by part usually.  Very small machines are also a possibility.

  1. Most 3-D printers use one feed stock and have fixed tooling. The RepRap is open architecture that is especially rich in redesign prospects. 
  2. PLA comes in many colors and potentially many thicknesses although that means different extruder tips.  
  3. The RepRap can use ABS if it deploys a heated bed, which it can. 
  4. We also plan testing using etching then solder wire to crate circuits boards
  5. Other possibly feed stocks include recycled plastic and chocolate  
  6. We have run it as a 2-D plotter by installing a pen instead of an extruder tip. 
  7. Professor Shriver (Anthro, see below) is building a low cost PCR machine using a pick and place action with two beds heated to different temperatures. 
  8. The basic design could made much bigger, or smaller. TechZone released a bigger model, the Mondo, in 2011
  9. A second extruder tip might be added (using one more stepper motor and controller). This would allow using support material for removal post fabrication.
Body of Knowledge:
RepRap is open source and there is a large and active global community engaged in improving existing technology and creating new technologies. Upgrades are continuous and free, except for materials and supplies, most of which can be localized. RepRap.org 

Reprap is a game changer. It can diffuse rapid prototyping to people and units who could not afford it before and to places where it was not even considered and where it may do things very different than make plastic models. And one can mass produce plastic models and reach very large numbers of people.  It s desktop manufacturing

Most of the knowledge and commentary is on the web and on wikis in particular. A recent summary of the movement in an academic journal is attached, Pearce 3DPr_10.pdf.  The lead author Joshua Pearce got his PhD at Penn State and has an advisor in common with David Saint Clair, Professor Tom Jackson.  

Local History:
Penn State RepRap is a local node of the global RepRap community that began in the fall of 2010 when David Saint John (PhD Candidate MATSE) decided to buy the Mendel version from TechZone and build it for himself.  The idea spun out of an ad hoc group discussing technological futures in a coffee shop that included Saint John, Doyle, and Furjanic (see below).  David's success immediately led to the establishment of a R&D group in the Engineering Design program of SEDTAPP by Devon.  In spring of 2011, a group of 10 students under the rubric of EDSGN 494-004 built two Mendels and one Churchill.  The group was led by David Saint John assisted by Eric Furjanic. Professor Richard Devon then made it a course, EDSGN 497C, for fall 2011 with about 20 students. The course is primarily hands-on with some discussion of topics such as rapid prototyping, modeling in the design process, open source technology, and new applications and designs for RepRap technology.

Project Leader

    David St. John, Ph D candidate in MATSE  <etherdais at gmail.com> dbs198@psu.edu

          Eric Furjanic  <nix7c0@gmail.com>

    Administrator:       Prof Richard Devon  <rdevon@psu.edu>


The Engineering Design Program,    Richard Devon,  Professor of Engineering Design,  
SEDTAPP  Head, Prof Sven Bilén <SBilen@engr.psu.edu>

CEDE       Supervisor: Scott Pusey <wpusey@engr.psu.edu>; CEDE Computing Administrator Adam Hackenberg <ahack@engr.psu.edu>
The Learning Factory      Tim Simpson,   Director, and Professor of ME and IE

Samuel A Shuman Endowment, College of Engineering

Penn State Partners

Rick Gilmore  Assoc Professor, Department of Psychology and Director of Human Imaging
                             Social, Life, & Engineering Sciences Imaging Center (SLEIC), 120C Chandlee Laboratory
Mark Shriver   Assoc. Professor, Department of Anthropology, 
                                   PI, Anthropological Genomics Lab
Richard Doyle Professor, Dept of  English and IST SChool, specialist in scientific discourse and open source philosophy
David Celento,  Asst Professor, Department of Architecture. Specialist in digital fabrication
Erich Schienke, Science, Technology, and Society program
Tom Lauerman, Asst Professor, School of Visual Arts
Cristin Millet, Associate Professor, School of Visual Arts

Global Partners
Joshua Pearce   Associate Professor, Michigan Technological University
                                  Department of Materials Science & Engineering
                                  Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Thomas Howard <thow@man.dtu.dk>  Delft Technological University

Richard Devon,
Dec 13, 2011, 9:17 AM
Richard Devon,
Dec 28, 2011, 6:21 AM
Richard Devon,
Jan 31, 2012, 5:59 AM