RepRap Build-a-Thon

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Press Release


Local Technology and Arts Collective Holding Weekend Seminar on Self-Replicating Tools

Washington, DC – January 24-25, 2009. HacDC the Washington, DC-area technology and arts collective, is presenting a free, open to the public two-day event over the weekend of January 24th – 25th. Attendees will participate in the construction and use of a remarkable open source tool, the "Replicating Rapid Prototyper" or RepRap. Anyone can make a RepRap machine, using parts made by another person with a similar machine, and a few additional parts that can be found online or from a local hardware store. RepRap is capable of making a nearly complete copy of itself, given a small amount of (possibly recycled) plastic. Once the machine is made, the user can download designs for other objects from the Internet or create their own designs, which can then be printed with the RepRap machine.

The two-day sessions will include talks by RepRap founders and pioneers, as well as demonstrations by local experimenters who have built their own RepRaps and contributed to the development of the system. After the talks, the seminar participants will participate in the construction of a RepRap from the ground up. Attendees will complete this process during the seminar, providing a great opportunity for everyone to get some experience assembling and using a RepRap. Smaller breakout sessions on related topics, such as stepper motor function, microcontroller programming and 3D modeling will be presented, in order to provide the attendees with the skills needed to construct and use the RepRap system.

The event will take place at HacDC's headquarters at 1525 Newton St. in NW Washington, DC. The events will start at 10:00am on Saturday, January 24 and end on Sunday the 25th at 3:00pm. For more information, see the HacDC website at:

The process of "desktop manufacturing" is coming of age- like the personal computer in the 1970s, such systems are either very expensive, or the purview of a few hobbyists in their garages. But like the personal computer before it, the desktop manufacturing revolution is breaking out. The RepRap, like other open-source projects such as the Linux operating system and the Firefox browser, is allowing anyone with the patience and interest to participate. HacDC and other organizations throughout the world want to see that this technology can be widely understood and utilized by the public. As a result, HacDC (along with other area technology groups such as B/WRUG, Make:DC and DC Dorkbot) are presenting this event, and making it free and open to the public.


The RepRap Project is an initiative aimed at creating a largely self-replicating machine which can be used for rapid prototyping and manufacturing. A rapid prototyper is a 3D printer that is able to fabricate three dimensional artifacts from a computer-based model.

Project authors describe 'self-replication', understood as the ability to reproduce the components necessary to build another version of itself, as one of the goals for the project. This will allow the number of RepRaps to increase exponentially to meet demand. The authors further speculate that, due to the Open Source nature of the project, RepRap will eventually demonstrate evolution, improving and increasing its capabilities over time. This gives RepRap the potential to become a powerful disruptive technology, similar to the Internet, the home computer, and the automobile. For more information, see the RepRap website at:

Contact: Baltimore RepRap Users Group Brian Dolge briandolge at


HacDC is a District of Columbia Non-Profit Corporation whose mission is to improve the world by creatively rethinking technology. Specifically by building and maintaining spaces suitable for technical and social collaboration. HacDC collaborates on all forms of technology, culture and craft in new and interesting ways, while applying the results of its work to specific cultural, charitable and scientific causes. HacDC freely shares its research and discoveries, using what is learned to teach others, and actively recruits and develops talented members dedicated to these efforts.

Contact: Nick Farr ndf at

HacDC 1525 Newton St NW Washington DC 20010 USA



Join the HacDC and and the Baltimore/Maryland RepRap User’s Group (RUG) for a weekend of RepRap fun! Save the weekend of January 24/25 for our RepRap Build-a-Thon. Initial plans include a range of activities, including hands-on group construction a RepRap Darwin from the ground up starting with laser-cut acrylic parts. We are also planning on having several local RepRap builders on hand with their machines, and hopefully able to demonstrate them in operation, making stuff!

We would also like to invite some of the local technology media/blogosphere folks, and take the opportunity to not only demonstrate what these machines can do, but also to talk in general about the implications of readily-available (and self-replicating) rapid prototyping machines. Certainly a great opportunity to chat with some RepRap pioneers, have a chance to participate in a hands-on build, and to generally have a good time with some local hackers.

More information coming as the plans develop- watch this space! If you are interested in helping out, please let us know via the mailing list. If you have contacts in the local technology media, or know someone in the trade who would be interested in this kind of event, please let us know! See the movie post below for a time-compressed version of RepRap construction by one of the original designers- the time represented by the video is about four hours. Given enough participants, we should be able to do something similar in our two days!

Project Plan

In order to get this project under way, it will be important to have a schedule that is workable, given that we have a month and a half or so to plan and execute the event. Thanks to Nick for this first cut at what needs to be done. Over the following week or so, we will identify folks to take these action items and give them a due date.

0) Ensure the venue is sufficient

1) Solidify the schedule for the event:

  • We have the Auditorium from 08:00 Saturday Morning to roughly 09:00 Sunday Morning
  • Due to church activities, we'll have to shift quietly into the HacDC space or our Workshop until roughly 13:00 Sunday afternoon, when we move down to the Dining Room.
  • Then we have the Dining Room until Monday morning.
  • Do we need to schedule time on Friday night?
  • Are we going to have classes, mini events, talks, etc? If so, what? We should try to make the event something that people can come check out for an hour, as well as have specific talks, classes, events, demos that people need to be there for at a specific time. (Otherwise, some people might not show up!)

2) Solidify the budget

  • This event should be free and open to the public, like all HacDC events
  • What are we going to realistically need/want to provide? Food? A machine for HacDC? Etc.

3) Publicity/Future

  • How frequently do we want to blog about it on, possibly cross-promote on, or other sites? Thingiverse?
  • When do we want to really start hitting make, etc.
  • What are we calling the event? Are we committing to doing something like this annually? Quarterly?

Proposed (DRAFT) Resource List

The draft Resource List is available as a Google Docs spreadsheet- you can see the current version here. Current DRAFT Resource List

Proposed (DRAFT) Agenda

The draft agenda is available as a Google Docs spreadsheet- you can see the current version here. Current DRAFT Agenda

Reference Material


repRapAgenda 20090126

Task list

  • procure m8 threaded rod (Ash; this afternoon at Fastenal: Rockville,MD)
  • install diagonal truss structure on 4/6 sides ( hacers, early evening )
  • true truss structure ( several hours )
  • sort all loose hardware
  • clean up
  • procure ball chain for x and y stages
  • install/build/burn/diag/adapt arduino software stack
  • test motor/endstop transit under power and software

Phase ++

    • install z stage timing belt
    • test z stage travel