RS Components has cemented its position in 3D design tools by signing a landmark distribution agreement with RepRapPro that it says will deliver affordable, open-source, self-replicating 3D printing technology to engineers worldwide.
The deal coincides with the launch of the RepRapPro Ormerod low cost 3D printer, which is available first from RS.
Used with the free DesignSpark Mechanical 3D modelling software co-developed by RS and SpaceClaim, the Ormerod 3D printing kit will enable design engineers to develop sophisticated concepts and products very quickly and inexpensively.
The kit uses the FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) process to build 3D objects in a range of plastics and in a variety of colours. This process enables the user to create almost any shape that can be modelled on a computer, including some that cannot be produced by traditional manufacturing techniques at all. 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 is to be made available soon.
In addition, the kit’s electronics have been redesigned and now enable connectivity via a web browser. It takes two hours two hours to assemble. All RepRapPro printers are capable of self-replicating their own plastic components.
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 (polylactic acid) filament material (approximately 300g); power supply (for EU, UK, US and Australia); and finally, the open-source software to run the machine, including firmware for the electronics. Other specifications of the Ormerod include accuracy of 0.1mm, resolution of 0.0125mm, build speed of 1.8mm per minute and deposition rate of 33cm3 per hour.
“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, is the dawn of 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,” said Mark Cundle, Head of Technical Marketing at RS Components. “It is no overstatement to say these are revolutionary times for engineers, which will massively increase the scope for innovation and faster time-to-market.”
”When I started the whole RepRap project I thought that it stood a chance of working,” said Adrian Bowyer, one of RepRapPro’s directors. “By working, I mean that if you were to put the machine together it would print its own plastic parts. But I didn’t expect there to be scores of RepRap-based companies all over the world just a few years later, and to be helping to run one myself. So RepRap also works as a global social and economic phenomenon, as well as an engineering success. And, of course, we are delighted that a major distributor like RS sees it the same way.”
500 limited edition RS branded Ormerod printers (pictured), complete with certificate of authenticity numbered one to 500, are available to buy on the RS website while stocks last. Standard Ormerod printers will be available to purchase from RS in January direct from stock.