RepRap interim challenge obstacles

The RepRap challenge has a number of obstacles for the interim award.  There are two in particular that seem insurmountable.

  1. Maintain a total materials and parts cost under $200 and that 90% of the volume of the printer parts be printed.
  2. The ability to print autonomously without a PC attached.

I have to imagine something large enough to accomplish all of the other goals would cost well over $200.00.  If an entire Darwin or Mendel were trasmorgrified King Midas1 style into pure plastic, I would think the plastic alone would eat up 90% of the budget.  Even the best deals around the internet for RepRap parts just the electronics are roughly $215.

I say it seems insurmountable – but if someone had told me two years ago I could one day buy a full kit for building a robot that would make me any plastic thing I could imagine for $1,000.00  I would have laughed at them.

  1. or Calvin and Hobbes []

6 Responses to “RepRap interim challenge obstacles”

  1. rodbotic says:

    If I remember correctly there was a hint about that they envision a solution that would involve recycling some plastic(bottles) to bring the cost down. but I can’t find the reference. soo maybe I imagined it…

  2. MakerBlock says:

    You’re absolutely right – there’s a reference in the article I link to which discusses recycling. Basically the judges are supposed to look upon the final machine’s additional abilities to recycle very favorably – remarking on HDPE, etc. However, unless you’re talking about ABS or PLA, the warp/shrinkage factors are so high that printing large items is problematic. Unless you add a heated bed – which also adds additional costs and non-printable materials.

  3. Actually if you leave out shipping and find good suppliers I could get most of my electronics costs down to €150. See the second sheet for a cost breakdown:
    (from!.html )

  4. MakerBlock says:

    Awesome spreadsheet (I caught it on your post but didn’t see the second sheet). I didn’t realize the electronics could be that cheap. I’m very happy to be very wrong!

  5. Bo says:

    But if we tossed this concept into Africa, it would be made from almost entirely recycled materials, formed into the required parts one way or another… This is very meaningful stuff, as it will eventually let villages print new water filters.

  6. Sven Hecht says:

    “Even the best deals around the internet for RepRap parts just the electronics are roughly $215.”

    Well there are still the first two “obstacle”:
    “1. Print at least three different materials, including one that is usefully electrically conductive.
    2. The ability to print electronic circuit boards.”

    If you were able to print your PCBs you could save a lotta dough.
    Also the transmogrification part could be possible with a Sarrus Linkage design:

    I think the insurmountable seeming obstacles are the first two by far.
    Except some Ideas with a copper sulfate solution I didn’t see much to get that one done.
    Some kind of printable conductive polymer would be the idea to seal the deal, like PPV which is used in solar panels but is probably to expensive.