RepRapPro has introduced the Tricolour Mendel, an open-source RepRap Mendel printer designed to work with three colors or three different plastics at the same time. The unit is priced at about $1,000, plus shipping costs.

The new model, derived from the company’s RepRapPro Mendel, includes several enhancements including more compact extruder drives that can come apart. When the plastic filament being driven is in the drive, the filament itself holds the drive together securely. But with no filament, the drive dismantles without tools for easy cleaning and service. The company also has enhanced the widely used Marlin firmware to allow the addition of a slave controller board to drive the additional extruders.

Source: RepRapPro

Some History

The RepRapPro Tricolour Mendel 3D printer is a Replicating Rapid-prototyping machine, or RepRap for short. It is an open-source derivative of the equally open-source RepRap Project, which was started at Bath University, UK, in 2004. The machine uses a process known as Fused Filament Fabrication, which it employs to build 3-dimensional objects in a range of plastics and in a variety of colors. This process enables users to create almost any shape which can be modeled on a computer, including some which could not be produced by traditional manufacturing techniques at all, according to the company.

Company execs also say the RepRapPro Tricolour Mendel is one of the most versatile 3D printers available in terms of the different of materials it can work with at once. The primary design goals were to offer a printer that is easy to expand in functionality, low cost, fast to replicate, and fast to assemble and to commission.

Going Forward

Since its inception in early 2012, the RepRapPro Mendel range has undergone brisk development and heavy testing, and that will continue. Indeed, there is an active development plan with more than 300 potential contributors so users of the Tricolour Mendel 3D printer will have access to software updates and designs for upgraded parts that they can print themselves.

Company execs add that they are researching many functional materials – including electrically conducting plastics, magnetic plastics and soluble support materials – that users will be able to utilize in future releases.

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