Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Optimization in Robotics and Biomechanics

Bachelor Thesis: RepRap 3D-Printer


Joachim Schleicher, joachim.schleicher (at)
Title: RepRap 3D-Drucker – Ein Open Source-Projekt für Hardware
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Katja Mombaur and Khai-Long Ho Hoang
Duration: 8th January – 5th April 2012


RepRap Mendel 3D-Printer fully assembled with host software on a monitor

Rapid Prototyping is a technique to quickly build real physical objects from CAD models. RepRap is the replicating rapid prototyper presented by Bowyer in 2008. It utilizes Fused Filament Fabrication and prints plastics objects in 3D. A large fraction of its own parts can be built by the robot itself allowing the user to copy the machine's essential parts and print spare parts for the machine.

The concept of Open Source allows a free distribution and requires improvements to be published under an open license as well. Thus several thousand copies of RepRap were built during the last four years. The community
evolves rapidly and steadily improves the design.

During this thesis we built an RepRap Mendel from its individual parts and tested the capabilities of the printer. Some calibration work is necessary but overall the machine works pretty well. A microcontroller is used to control stepper motors and read sensor values on hardware level. As a usability demonstration additional parts for robots available in the lab were modelled and printed with RepRap Mendel.

K. Mombaur,
Last Update: 23.10.2012 - 14:00

The photographs in the header of this webpage have been taken at the Musee de l'Automate in Souillac, France