RS Components (RS) has signed a landmark distribution agreement with RepRapPro Ltd to deliver affordable, open-source, self-replicating 3D printing technology to engineers worldwide.
The announcement coincides with the launch of the RepRapPro Ormerod low cost 3D printer, which will be available first from RS.
Fast becoming an essential part of the electronic and mechanical design process, 3D printing is increasingly being employed by several companies who are beginning to see the benefits of using this technology to create quick turnaround prototypes and save months in the design cycle. Barriers to adoption in the past have been the cost of hardware and lack of easy-to-use design software for non-CAD specialists.
Easy to expand in functionality, fast to replicate and fast to assemble, the Ormerod is one of the most versatile 3D printers available. When used in conjunction with the free DesignSpark Mechanical 3D modelling software co-developed by RS and SpaceClaim, the Ormerod complete 3D printing kit will enable design engineers around the world to develop sophisticated concepts and products very quickly and inexpensively.
The Ormerod uses the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) process to build 3D objects in a range of plastics and a variety of colours, enabling users to create almost any shape that can be modelled on a computer, including some that cannot be produced by traditional manufacturing techniques. While the Ormerod is a monochrome 3D printer that has been configured to work with one type of plastic at a time, the device is fundamentally designed to work with three-colour deposition; an upgrade kit will be made available soon. Additionally, Ormerod’s electronics have been redesigned to enable connectivity via a web browser.
The RepRapPro Ormerod is shipped as a kit of parts containing all the required components, ready for assembly. The complete kit includes: all printed parts; all hardware, including threaded and smooth rods, screws, nuts, washers, belts and bearings; pre-soldered and programmed electronics; MicroSD card and adapter; heated PCB build surface; motors; nozzle assembly and extruder drive mechanism; 100m of 1.75mm-diameter PLA filament material; power supply (for EU, UK, US and Australia); and finally, the open-source software to run the machine, including firmware for the electronics.
According to Mark Cundle, Head of Technical Marketing at RS Components, the availability of low cost 3D printing technology with the RepRapPro Ormerod, combined with the free and intuitive DesignSpark Mechanical and library of 3D component models from RS, opens up a new era of 3D design and rapid prototyping that will see it move from a niche group of CAD specialists to a much wider spectrum of users.