The RepRap revolution started 6 years ago, today.

6 years ago, today is when the first ‘child’ printer was created.

6 years ago, today, the RepRap revolution started.

RepRaps, or Reproducing Rapid Prototypers are 3d printers that are designed in such a way that you can use one to make a copy of itself. The goal is to be able to use ‘stuff’ that is easily available locally. Today, I could make one using parts bought from Radio Shack, Home Depot, Walmart, and junk inkjet printers sitting in people’s closets, and my existing 3d printer. It’s easier and cheaper to order parts of ebay, but I can cobble one together after a couple hour bike ride.

The hardware is open source –  that means I can download, view, edit, and distribute my changes to the machine for free & legally.

The software is open source – that means I can download, view, edit, and distribute my changes to the software for free & legally.

There are thousands of people who are actively making tweaks and adjustments to the printers & software every single day. Thousands of people who are making these 3d printers better, every day, just for the fun of it.

6 years ago today, the first RepRap begat the 2nd RepRap and the world changed forever.

My college, MSOE, had the largest Rapid Prototyping lab in the world at that time if memory serves correctly. They had millions of dollars in equipment. I remember walking past the glassed windowed RPC and looking at the cool stuff they where making there. Engines for GM, hands for NASA to fit gloves, skulls to solve murder mysteries.

2 years ago, I got my first RepRap for as much money as the TV in my living room – http://mike.creuzer.com/2012/02/i-ordered-my-3d-printer-last-weekend.html. I ordered a kit of parts, and built it over the course of 2 days with help from strangers who where also putting their printers together at the same time.

6 years ago today, RepRaps started a revolution that made 3d printers accessible to me, in my home. My children will grow up never not knowing having having easy access to 3d printers. In their home. My dad remembers when he got indoor plumbing growing up, I remember when our house got it’s own phone number and not a shared number with several of the neighbors. My kids will never not remember a 3d printer or two in their house. This blows my mind. The paradigm shift in their thought processes is revolutionary – http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/07/bella-printed-a-missing-part-for-one-of-her-toys.html.

I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own – hybrid drivelines http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/04/delta-reprap-using-both-belts-and-spectra-fishing-line.html, hooking up my printer to my fish tank http://mike.creuzer.com/2013/01/watercooling-my-makergear-prusa-reprap.html, and a temp monitoring idea across the printer as a hole.

The people who have made the RepRap revolution possible deserve much gratitude. I’ve been able to meet in person many of the ‘key’ people who have made RepRaps possible – the (re)designers of the hardware, the (re)designers of the firmware, the (re)designers of the electronics.

Today, today is Mr. Bowyer’s day. Thank you. We will probably never meet in person, but you have changed my life & my children’s life. For that, Thank you.

I think I invented something

A laminar flow pipe reducer for a pump housing. At least, a little bit of Google searching hasn't shown me another.

I am trying to find a cheaper way to heat the 75 gallon aquaponics system in the basement. It's really running closer to 125 gallons of water with a LOT of surface area. This bleeds heat quite quickly, so the electric submersion heaters are expensive to run and I simply don't have enough to keep up with the cold basement sucking the heat out of my tanks.

So, I did something stupid. I rigged up a water line to the furnace and water heater flue. This involved running about 25 feet of 1/4 inch tubing because that's all I had on hand that would go the distance. There are issues with copper being toxic to fish, and cooling the flue, causing Carbon Monoxide to fill the house. So this is not something you want to do yourself.

I needed more water flow. A 3/4 inch pond pump forced down to 1/4 hose just doesn't work very well. Too much restriction to get good flow.

I had to make a water tipper to help my grow bed siphon start and stop. This just fills up with water slowly and then dumps the water at once into the bed. The small water pulse surge is often enough to trigger a slow siphon.

This is fine and dandy, but I have a 3d printer. So I spent some time with a Fluid Dynamics textbook and openscad and came up with an adapter for running multiple hoses out of my pump – http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:54029 

I think it's a first. I haven't found anybody else who made a laminar flow reducer for a pond pump. This thing induces laminar water flow through a series of small honeycomb shaped features inside the adapter.

It was very challenging for me to make, as my math skills aren't up to par. I kinda had to trial and error it instead of solving the problem with math.

In the end, it's designed to be printed, with a center support column running up the center to make the upper section easy to print.

The best part is that the goofy thing works!. I get the same water flow out of the heater line as before PLUS I get 2 additional water lines that are providing a significant additional water flow. I'd expect it to work poorly do to all the plastic that's in the water flow, but it seems to be efficient enough to overcome all the extra gunk in the way.

In album

Seriously stupid going on. Aquarium water heater off the furnace flue.

Water tipper mocked up with various bits to induce a water surge to trigger the bell siphon

Honeycomb feature inside the adapter to induce laminar flow.

3 different hoses come out of this one pump adapter.

I broke the first print in half to verify that it printed the way I wanted it to. (It’s my story, let me tell it the way I want to)

The pump running 3 separate hoses.

Tearing down a 75 gallon tank to clean up water

My Overflow box strikes again! This thing is the bane of my carpeting! This time, it caused a flood in a different way. The drain tubes fell out of the tank. They stayed put for over a month, then fell out twice within 6 hours. I don’t get it.

Trying to dry out under the tank. This didn’t work very well. I was told ‘the house stank’ so the tank has to move so the leak can be cleaned up properly.



This is the area where the tubes went. The hoses just slipped into the tank here between the filter and the side of the light hood. The tubes where long enough, it just seemed to work well.

My solution is to simple – put a long deck screw in so I can affix the tubes to the screw so they won’t fall out anymore.

The water left in the tank got put into 2 large totes and a 5 gallon bucket. The Oscars are in one of the tubs. Brother is checking out the fish here.



The tank is sitting on some saw horses so it’s out of the way. I moved the base aside just to get it out of the way. The tank can set on the saw horses just fine while the carpet dries.

The room gets a little bare with the tank missing.

The tank hopefully get all put back together tonight..

Video of my Tiger Oscars

I took a quick video of the Tiger Oscars shortly after I had fed them. The camera has a bit of trouble with focusing.


Brother wanted a bit of attention too.

Here is a photo of the Jack Dempsey. I put more decoration in her tank. I was cleaning up my boxes of fish stuff, and dropped all the fake plants I could find into the tank. I also added more rock from one of my other tanks. It looks much better now.
Jack Dempsey fish I think she looks happier, don’t you?

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