3d printers and WTF?

3d printers and WTF?

If you have not explored this tek or if you were an early adopter but never got functional lets discuss.

There are a lot of competing brands, a lot. The explosive growth was sparked by the Rep Rap community and one very involved company that allowed for people to print parts for their machines. UltiMaker has to be a primary contributor and their open source attitude was critical. Prusa also a major player in the home brew printing community. What ends up happening is your first unit turns into a platform to build others. By others I mean real tools for real production. The possibilities are endless and the people doing the innovation using FDM technology are true trail blazers

Of course the parts for the build would be related to the framework and not the real ingredients.

Let me just ask AI what it thinks so I can appear very intelligent

Introduction to FDM 3D Printing

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is a 3D printing technology that creates objects layer by layer by extruding thermoplastic material. Scott Crump, the founder of Stratasys, invented FDM in the late 1980s, laying the groundwork for what would become one of the most popular methods of 3D printing.

Origins and Development of the RepRap Project

The RepRap project, short for Replicating Rapid-prototyper, was initiated in 2005 by Dr. Adrian Bowyer at the University of Bath. Its revolutionary goal was to create a self-replicating machine, capable of printing most of its own components. This open-source project aimed to democratize 3D printing by making it affordable and accessible to the general public. The first successful RepRap, “Darwin,” was released in 2007, followed by more refined models like “Mendel” and “Prusa,” which have become synonymous with DIY 3D printing.

Evolution to Current Inexpensive Units

From the RepRap project sprouted a multitude of inexpensive, commercial FDM 3D printers. The open-source nature of RepRap encouraged innovation and competition, leading to significant improvements in quality and reductions in price. Crowdfunding platforms also played a crucial role in launching numerous 3D printing startups, further expanding the market and accessibility of FDM technology.

Quality Differences in Components

The quality of FDM printers varies significantly with components such as the frame, extruder, hotend, and bed leveling system. Early RepRap designs often used 3D-printed parts and were prone to stability issues, whereas modern inexpensive units might feature metal frames, direct drive extruders, all-metal hotends, and automated bed leveling, significantly improving print quality and reliability.

Electronic Control Boards

The evolution of electronic control boards from simple Arduino-based circuits to sophisticated boards like the Duet 2 WiFi and the BTT SKR series has been pivotal. These modern control boards support advanced features like silent stepper drivers, network connectivity, and improved thermal management, allowing for more precise control and higher print quality.

Operating Programs

The software used to slice models and control FDM printers has also seen significant advancements. Early software was rudimentary, offering limited control over print settings. Today’s slicing software, such as Cura, PrusaSlicer, and Simplify3D, provides extensive customization options, supports a wide range of printers, and is more user-friendly, contributing to the broader adoption of FDM technology.


The journey of FDM 3D printing from the RepRap project to today’s affordable and advanced units is a testament to the power of open-source collaboration and technological innovation. While the market continues to evolve, the core principles of accessibility and community-driven development remain central to the spirit of FDM 3D printing. As we look to the future, further advancements in components, control boards, and software promise to make 3D printing even more accessible and capable.

We will continue with a second post that’s more personal, my experiences from Tevo Tarantula to my home built large format. The basic idea here is to get you interested in the control of machines, The design process and the endless possibilities

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