Rocky Mountain RepRap Recap

The second annual Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival was another big success, but if you couldn't make it, here's a look at just a few of the things you missed.

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Recently, Colorado hosted the second annual Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival, a coming together of like-minded 3D printing professionals and enthusiasts. RepRap festivals have been happening here in the US since 2013, when the inaugural Midwest RepRap Festival took place in Elkhart, Indiana. Now, at this point, since I’ve mentioned RepRap three times already, (four, if you include the one in this sentence), I should make sure you know what the word actually means.

RMRRF Crowd
The hall was packed from the moment the doors opened, despite the characteristic Colorado late-season snowfall.

RepRap bills itself as the world’s first general-purpose self-replicating manufacturing machine, and one of the big early adopters of Open Source Hardware. The RepRap Project was initiated in 2005 by Dr. Adrian Bowyer, a professor at the University of Bath in the UK. At a time when Stratasys was pretty much the only FDM printer available, and printers started at about $50,000, Dr. Bowyer imagined a 3D printer that could be made using common, inexpensive materials and components, with the machine being capable of printing all of the necessary plastic components itself. This meant that additive printing could be accessible to the masses, and the project played a significant role in the popularization and advancement of 3D printing technology over the past two decades.

Original RepRap at SCience Museum London
The first RepRap machine is now on display at the Science Museum in London (Photo credit: reprap.org)

Last year’s Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival, or RMRRF for short, held at the Ranch Events Center in Loveland, saw companies and visitors from not just around the country, but around the world! (Thanks, Prusa!) It was a tremendous success, and the promise of an even bigger event this year prompted the RMRRF organizers to expand the square footage for this year, expanding into the North hall as well. It was a good thing, too. Despite waking up to a typical Colorado late-season snow on the morning of day 1, the hall was packed from the moment the doors opened. All of the big favorites were there, like Lulzbot, Prusa, and Voron Design, along with amazing and delicious younger companies like Cocoa Press.

CocoaPressEiffelTower
Yes, that is a 3D printed chocolate Eiffel Tour. Merci, Cocoa Press!

While it’s always great seeing the newest offerings from the biggest players, perhaps the best part of RepRap Festivals is the fact that they invite companies of all sizes as well as individuals to come and show off what they’ve been making and doing. This isn’t a trade show, but rather a community powered 3D printing party! I’d like to share some of those smaller or lesser known companies, as well as some individuals, for you to get to know.

Printed Differently

Printed Differently Images

Printed Differently is a company whose dedication to 3D printed products and designs is matched by their dedication to supporting those people dealing with mental health issues. With every order, we donate 10% of our sales to mental health organizations. Our contributions are aimed at helping people with mental disabilities to get the support they need to lead successful lives. https://www.printeddifferently.com/)

Hendrik Vogelpohl

Electroplated 3D printee parts
Want to bring your cosplay game to the next level? 3D printed, electroplated parts will do the trick!

Hendrik Vogelpohl truly embodies the spirit of RepRap. He got a table at RMRRF not to promote his company, not to sell his wares, but simply to share his passion for 3D printing, and what he does with it. And what he does with it is pretty amazing. Hendrik electroplates 3D prints, creating pieces that appear to be made completely of gold, silver, copper, bronze, or any other metal that can be used in electroplating. He shares his work across Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter (currently known as X, accompanied by rolled eyes), but it was great to get to talk with him IRL. https://www.linktr.ee/hen3drik

3DPRINTANDESIGN

Roger Abathan of 3DPrintAnDesign
Roger Abathan heads 3DPRINTANDESIGN, a small company doing big things. As an engineer and industrial designer with a deep-seated desire to do good in the world, Roger and his company have designed products that track water usage to reduce water consumption, products targeted at sustainability, and products for half a dozen hotel brands to improve the guest experience. Aside from the downloadable files they offer on their website, they also design and fabricate custom components. https://www.3dprintandesign.com/

Maple Glass Printing

Glass 3D printing!
By melting glass down into thin rods, Maple Glass Printing creates glass filament
If your main goal with 3D printing is purely to create art, and you’ve always been entranced by the work of artists like Dale Chihuly or Jaroslava Brychtova, then you probably want to take a look at the Australian company Maple Glass Printing. They use glass as their medium, and the beauty of their machines is that they don’t require a specific or specialized type of glass, you can simply use old bottles! Note: These are still very new and fairly expensive, but thanks to some brilliant engineering, they draw less power than your average hair dryer! https://www.mapleglassprinting.com/

The Filament Color Library

Filament Color Library
Need to match a filament's color? Filament Colors lets you search by manufacturer, filament type, color family, and more!

This is what one might truly call a passion project. The Filament Color Library is creating a single repository of filament colors, cataloging them by actual Pantone colors. They create the same print with each filament, photographs each print under the same lighting conditions, and then list them all, along with filaments from other manufacturers that are the closest matches. The idea behind this is that if you run out of filament halfway through a print, and can’t get your original filament, you can get as close a replacement as possible. The site also suggests complementary colors, analogous colors, triadic colors, split-complementary colors, tetradic (rectangular) colors, and tetradic (square) colors. By using these recommended filament combinations, your multi-color prints will always look good. https://filamentcolors.xyz/library//

There were about 3,497, 221 other amazing vendors, creators, and artists displaying their work and their passion at this year’s Rocky Mountain RepRap Festival, and I’m just sorry I couldn’t give them all a shout out. So I guess you’ll all just have to attend next year’s RMRRF, and see them all for yourselves. I’ll see you there!

3D printed graphic images
Multi-color prints were in abundance this year, with things like poker chips, and graphic images like these


Comments 3 comments

  • Member #134773 / last month / 1

    Uh,, unless they've managed to print a working anti-gravity machine, it sure looks to me like a couple of the photos are upside down (need to be rotated 180 degrees).

    • ROB-24601 / last month / 1

      Thanks for the heads up! Should be solved now.

      Goes back to workbench to continue work on anti-gravity machine

      • Member #134773 / last month / 2

        "heads up" -- pun intended? ;-)

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