This site is dedicated to the discussion of the Reprap Wilson 3D printer design. With luck (and your participation) I hope this site will become a good resource for people who are intersted in building and using this machine.
What is Reprap?
Essentially, Reprap (which is short for REPlicating RAPid prototyping machines) is a project who’s goal is to create humanity’s first machine that can make it’s own parts, thereby enabling the proliferation of more such machines, and empowering people to manufacture their own goods without the infrastructure and expense of large factories. Machines such as the Reprap Wilson can print their own plastic parts, and are generally considered a first step along this path. We use motors, electronics, and metalwork from other industries to complete the machine, since sadly, we can’t replicate those parts yet.
So, Reprap machines are a type of 3D printer. 3D printers are called “Additive Manufacturing” because objects are created by the extrusion of thermoplastic in very thin layers that are built one upon the other. The most common plastics that we use are PLA and ABS, but new printable materials are being invented all the time. It is truly an exciting time to be part of the emerging 3D printing technology.
Why is it called Wilson?
No, that’s not it…
Inspired by the corollaries between biological evolution and 3D printers printing more 3D printers, early Reprap pioneers decided to name their machines in honor of scientists in that earlier field. So the first machine was named Darwin, and later Mendel (after Gregor Mendel). Many other projects spun off this idea, leading to designs like Huxley, Kossel, and Wallace. I liked this idea a lot, so when I decided to release the design I’d been working on, I stole the name of an American biologist that I admire: E.O. Wilson.
And here’s a fun thing to think about: My first printer was a Reprap Mendel, and since it’s parts were also printed on a reprap, any Wilson machine made today by you has a direct lineage back to the actual first Darwin machine (assuming nobody broke the chain in between by printing reprap parts on a non-reprap printer, which is probably a safe bet).