No, RepRap printers are not 3D printers that rap.
So what in the FRIGGING 3D PRINTING WORLD are these machines?
What Is A RepRap 3D Printer? What Does It Mean?
RepRap stands for ‘replicating rapid prototyper.’ Or, in simple terms, a self-replicating 3D printer.
Think of it as a self-cloning machine. One machine (a RepRap 3D printer) would clone itself. And that clone would build more clones. And then these clone 3D printers would take over the world (okay, the last sentence hasn’t happened.Yet.).
History of the RepRap movement and RepRap 3D printing
The origin story
Once upon a time (in the year 2004), in a land known as Britain, a certain gentleman known as Doctor Adrian Bowyer started the RepRap movement. He dreamed of making 3D printers available to everyone and wanted to build a printer that could create components at a low cost.
Dr. Adrian Bowyer the founder of RepRap movement
People in the original RepRap movement envisioned a world where 3D printers (or their blueprints) could be cheaply distributed to different communities. The goal was to put power in the hands of people, so they could then create more low-cost 3D printers.
There are three key features to the RepRap movement:
- Low cost: The RepRap movement wanted people to get 3D printers for cheap. They wanted power in the hands of people so that people could create low-cost 3D printers. A study proved that using RepRap 3D printers to print everyday products helped save money, bolstering the movement’s validity. In those days,3D printers cost upwards of $10,000 (and most of them were the size of a refrigerator). So a $200 RepRap 3D printer was a wet dream for tech enthusiasts.
- Evolution: Another key feature of the RepRap movement was feedback. The whole process was thought of in terms of evolution (the Darwinian concept). Any improvements to existing RepRap 3D printers and their parts were implemented to make the printers better while keeping costs low. The first RepRap 3D printer was aptly called RepRap Darwin (is it just me or did you also imagine Darwin wearing a cap and spitting out rhymes). The printer looked rudimentary, but the job got done.
- Open source: The hardware and software in the RepRap movement were released under open source licenses. That means ANYONE (including your dog, if it could use a printer) could build, operate or profit from these RepRap 3D printers. This open-source movement is what started companies like Prusa and Creality. Check out our review of the best open source 3D printers here.
A little more history (yeah, I know history is BOORING, so keep your eyes awake for just three more sentences. Or you know, just skip to the product reviews)
In January 2009, Makerbot, a currently famous 3D printer company, was founded by RepRap volunteers. Their goal was to make open source Reprap 3D printers, but not necessarily self-replicating ones.
In October 2009, RepRap Darwin then evolved into Mendel, the second-generation RepRap 3D printer. The Mendel looked more like a triangular prism than a cube.
In August 2010, the third generation RepRap 3D printer was built called the Huxley. It was a miniaturized version of the Mendel with 30% of the original volume.
And that’s all the history, folks. Please line up for the next lesson on Best RepRap 3D printers.
Table of Contents
- What Is A RepRap 3D Printer? What Does It Mean?
- History of the RepRap movement and RepRap 3D printing
- Top 7 RepRap 3D Printers at a glance
Top 7 RepRap 3D Printers at a glance
The Prusa i3 MK3S is a highly respected and popular ReRap 3D printer in the 3D printing kingdom. And true to the spirit of RepRap, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ is the evolved version of the original, the i3 MK3S.
Most of the components in the new version are the same as the i3 MK3S, but for a few improvements like a better bed leveling probe, a different way of handling flexible filaments, and a print cooling blower fan mount.
RepRap 3D printer kits require a lot of assembling, so the same is true for the Prusa. But this RepRap 3D printer kit comes with a gorgeous and detailed handbook that holds you by your hand and guides you meticulously through the whole process.
Of course, if you don’t care about the whole RepRap thing and you just want your printer fully assembled, you can do that as well; it’ll just cost you more.
The Prusa i3 MKS has high-quality components. Prints turn out incredible when you use company filaments and standard filament profiles. Even if you stray from the Prusa ecosystem, the printer works better than most printers out there.
Prusa stays true to the RepRap spirit; the company allows all its designs, board diagrams, parts list, etc to be downloaded by anyone. Users give feedback to the company for improvements, which the company takes seriously.
The company also has a 3D model repository and worldwide user base, which you can check here.
The print quality and layer resolution of this printer are AMAZING. Even if you take a microscope, you’d be hard-pressed to find faults in the prints.
- Check out our review of the highest resolution 3D printers here
There is one minor fault in the printer, though – it’s noisy.
The Prusa has come out with an excellent multi-material upgrade kit. With this, you can print with five different filaments in just one print! Or you can use the same filament in 5 different colors— bye-bye boring mono-colored prints.
The Prusa I3 MK3S is the best RepRap kit that delivers on all fronts. And it has the best RepRap design. Period.
The Ender 3 V2 is the PERFECT printer to get started in the world of RepRap 3D printers. It’s a DIY 3D printer that’s affordable and simple to assemble.
Setting up the Ender 3 will take you 30 to 40 minutes. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll learn a lot about 3D printers by assembling this 3D printer kit – like how to level a bed, tune printer settings to get the best achievable results, and a lot more.
And don’t worry, Creality has a robust community that can help you on your 3D printing journey. You can find the official community on this site, and you’ll find plenty of Facebook forums as well. There is also no shortage of YouTube videos if you want to troubleshoot any issues.
The Ender 3 V2 is an upgraded version of the original, the Ender 3. Some upgrades include an upgraded power supply, better print bed leveling, resume after outage function, and more.
The original Ender 3 was noisy, but the issue is rectified thanks to the 32-bit silent motherboard in V2. You can keep this 3D printer next to you while you sleep. Of course, you still have to suffer your roommate or partner snoring, and we don’t have any suggestions for that.
Some of the other outstanding features of the Ender 3 V2 include its silicon carbide glass plate. The plate helps in print adhesion and also in removing prints efficiently. We also loved the LCD screen. With an excellent user interface, beginners will feel comfortable with it.
Here’s a feature that’s not so outstanding – the cheap Bowden extruder. It wasn’t designed to last long. You’d be better off upgrading to a direct drive extruder if you want to print more than PLA or if you intend to run prints for longer periods.
If you’re serious about getting into 3D printing, the Ender 3 V2 is a solid jump board for beginners enthusiastic about their 3D printing journey.
One thing is certain about the Aquila. Almost anyone who has used this RepRap 3D printer has compared it to the Ender 3. And most of them ditched the latter and eloped with the former. It’s that good.
Just like the Ender 3, the Voxila comes as a kit. It’ll take you 40 minutes to assemble it. However, a beginner might have difficulty doing so as the instructions aren’t well explained.
The Voxelab is quiet compared to the Ender 3; it just can’t be heard.
Most parts that work with this 3D printer work with the Ender 3 as well. Heck, it even looks like the Ender 3 and shares similar specs.
Print quality is comparable as it can print in sizes of 100 microns-400 microns with a speed of 50-80 mm/s. Prints are as close to perfect as you can get in a RepRap 3D printer, with no stringing, picture-perfect details, and smooth layers.
The printer is cheaper than the Ender 3 (even though it’s the same in many ways). How cheap?
Less than $200. Unbelievable.
Any of the upgrades available to the Ender 3 also work with the Aquila.
One of the best features of this RepRap 3D printer is the textured glass surface that lies over the aluminum bed. It offers excellent adhesion as well as it makes it easy to remove prints post 3D printing.
Another neat feature is the color TFT screen. It looks amazing, and the functioning is smooth and intuitive. Sadly, it lacks a touch option.
This RepRap 3D printer is PERFECT for beginners who want to learn about 3D printers. And it prints like a charm, so ‘nuff said.
If you want a Creality RepRap 3D printer that’s bigger than the Ender 3, then check out the Creality CR-10 V2.
3D printing on a larger machine is refreshing; no more puny prints. You can make a real-size Iron Man helmet and save the world (and hopefully you don’t die in the process…sorry. too soon?)
Ideally, you’d have prior experience setting up RepRap kits (because you need to build the CR-10 V2 by yourself). Don’t worry though, just watch this video on how to do so.
Despite its RepRap-y nature, it’s a perfect 3D printer for beginners. You don’t need to have prior experience to build this printer. The printer is also highly customizable; you can print many mods from Thingiverse or other online repositories to create the machine of your dreams.
Fun fact – the frame of this RepRap 3D printer looks similar to the original Mendel (I hope you paid attention in the history class). It’s a solid and sturdy frame that helps keep the print quality high.
Speaking of print quality, though the machine produces excellent prints, you might have to tweak things a bit to get the best results.
The glass bed helps reduce warping on the print. It makes it a lot easier to remove prints as well.
Overall you can’t go wrong with this affordable RepRap 3D printer, particularly if you enjoy modding and consistent, high-quality prints. It’s a reliable, trustworthy machine that’ll serve you for years to come.
This is a RepRap 3D printer different from our usual suspects above because it’s a Delta printer.
The FLSUN QQ-S Delta is a large Delta 3D printer with a build volume of 255x255x360mm. Man, this printer is TALL – you can print unique prints that can’t be printed on many 3D printers.
Unfortunately, finding a spot in your house to keep Mr. Flsun Giraffe may be a problem because of its height.
Out of the box, the RepRap 3D printer is 90% assembled. Something is satisfying about having a largely assembled printer. You still need to fix a few panels, tracks and a filament holder before the printer is ready to rumble.
The 3D printer requires a one-time leveling only; after that you’re home free from ever to level again (beginner 3D enthusiasts among you will be GLAD to have this feature- TRUST ME, leveling is a pain).
Here’s the best part of this RepRap 3D printer (and Delta 3D printers in general), the printer is FAST. It is at least 60% faster than all the other slowpoke 3D printers out there in the market.
- Check out our review of the fastest 3D printers here
Some other features include a lattice glass platform (which offers great adhesion), a resume power feature option (in case of those pesky outages), and a WiFi remote control (in case you feel too comfortable to get up from your couch).
The Titan extruder is an AWESOME addition, as with its help, you can print flexible filaments.
We noticed that the first couple of prints didn’t work out so well, so you may need to change your print settings a bit to rectify the issue. Yet there were stringing problems even when we did our best, and some supports we printed left their mark prints.
FLSUN’s customer service is fantastic, and if you face any issues, they’re quick to resolve them. You also get assistance from them through their official Facebook group.
3D Printers like the Flsun are one of a kind, mainly due to speed. That AND a large build volume is solely enough to make this printer rank in our list.
Literally, the Mini version of the Prusa i3 MK3S, this RepRap 3D printer is a solid option for those on a budget.
The printer is small, with dimensions of 180x180x180mm. Yes, the size can be restrictive to your artistic needs, but you can print most items with the printer. Check out our review of the best small 3D printers here if small is your thing. The machine can also handle various filament types, including PLA, PETG, ABS, ASA, and Flex.
Prusa Mini RepRap kits have to be assembled from scratch, and it takes about an hour and a half to do so.
But this RepRap 3D printer is FUN to set up. Prusa strives to make sure you get a great experience using the machine.
A rather nice feature is the color LCD screen. It tells handy details about print ETA, the time elapsed, filament used, and how the model looks like.
The quality of prints is better than average, and we did not find a lot of flaws in the prints. We did use Prusa filaments, however, and it made a difference in the quality of prints.
The Mini differs from the i3 MK3S in the extruder – the former is a Bowden system. A direct drive extruder is better as Bowden extruders can cause stringing.
There’s not much to gripe about this 3D printer except for its small size and maybe its hefty price.
The Prusa Mini is a fantastic option for beginners and hobbyists who want to start with something small.
The Anycubic i3 Mega S is an excellent RepRap 3D printer under $300.
You can assemble this printer quickly; it will take you 20 minutes tops.
The Bowden extruder heats EXTREMELY FAST, so that’s a plus. Other features that we liked were the filament runout sensor, power loss recovery, and the touchscreen.
Another thing that heats fast is the printer’s unique bed called the Ultrabase (what else would something special be called?). Parts stick to the bed surface easily and can be removed just as quickly once the printer cools, thanks to the Ultrabase coating.
The 3D printer is sturdy as a rock. Prints turn out EXCELLENT without defects. It prints quickly, so if you want to print in bulk, this printer is great.
None of my prints failed, so Mr. Mega S gets a 10/10 for consistency.
In short, The Mega S is an affordable RepRap 3D printer perfect for you if impatience is a condition you struggle with and if you want your prints printed quickly.