For this spring semester two of my students worked on building a RepRap 3D printer as research. The printer had been started from prior semester, but that was limited to only the construction of the frame; which still had to be taken apart and rebuilt. The concept of the RepRap is that it is built from open-source community, software and designs. The RepRap started the whole entry level printer movement available for the educator, artist to the everyday person.
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A Printrbot printer was used to make some of the parts that had broken from assembly or to update a part from the wiki environment. Members share new designs, so as a community the printer is updated as users address issues they encounter.