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3D printing machine, RepRap version .01 Darwin

  • 2009
This machine is understood to be the first RepRap 3D printer in Australia.

The RepRap open-source project was founded in 2005 by Dr Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom. It is an open source hardware project to produce an affordable 3D printer which can then be used to produce copies of itself. It instigated the development of affordable desktop 3D printers which are now available from a number of companies and are one of the mainstays of the Maker Movement.

The Australian artist Louis Pratt's interest in digital manipulation and sculpture led him to the bourgeoning open-source 3D printing projects, and in particular, the RepRap kits. This machine was acquired as a kit and assembled by Mr Pratt at his studio in Marrickville, Sydney. He began printing parts for his artworks, using ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) as the medium in 2009, and the machine was rarely out of use unless repairs or modifications were being made to it.

The concept of 3D printing began in 1976, when the inkjet printer was developed. By 1984 adaptations on the inkjet idea went from printing with ink to printing with much more solid materials. Most industrial materials forming is either subtractive - such as routing or cutting - or uses methods of moulding materials. 3D printing is an additive method of creating form.

Louis Pratt's use of 3D scanned forms, primarily of people from the real world and transposed into the digital world, is pioneering. With these digitised forms he employs algorithms to distort, enhance and manipulate sculpture. Mr Pratt uses rapid prototyping to transform the scans back from cyber space into the real world. He applies 3D printing experimentally to casting and materials.

Damian McDonald and Matthew Connell
February 2016


Object No.


Object Statement

3D printer, RepRap version .01 Darwin, with 3D printed skull, aluminium / plastic / electronic components, made by Bits from Bytes Ltd, United Kingdom, used by Louis Pratt, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2009-2012

Physical Description

The 3D printer consists of an aluminium tubing and threaded-pipe frame, joined with acrylic fasteners. The frame is formed into a cube, the top section featuring the tracking for the carriage of the extruder. The printing table is composed of three sheets of acrylic. The control panel is at the lower front of the unit. With the printer is a 3D printed skull.



700 mm


600 mm


600 mm



Bits from Bytes Ltd, in the United Kingdom, manufactured and marketed 3D printer kits and pre-assembled printers. The company supplied RepRap (replicating rapid prototype) printers, which use open source software - computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

The RepRap open source project was founded in 2005 by Dr Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.

This machine, the Darwin .01, bought as a kit by the donor in 2009, was the first machine made available.

3D Systems Corporation acquired Bits from Bytes in October 2010, and continue to support their RepRap machines.



This 3D printing machine was acquired and used by artist Louis Pratt in 2009. According to the supplier of the machine, Bits from Bytes Ltd, this was the first RepRap 3D printer kit used in Australia.

Mr Pratt studied sculpture at the Australian National University School of Art, graduating with 1st class honours in 2000. In 2002 the College of Fine Art, University of New South Wales, awarded him an Australian Post-Graduate Research scholarship for a Master's degree that he completed in 2004. Mr Pratt began teaching in the College of Fine Art sculpture department in 2003, where he continues to teach.

This machine was used at Louis Pratt's studio in Marrickville, in inner-western Sydney, until 2012, to assist in the significant works: 'Voyeur', 'The Ambassador's Skull', 'Virus', 'Kangaroo after DH Lawrence', 'Whatever', and 'Just a Bee's Penis', as well as other works.

Mr Pratt has continued to work with 3D printers, and acquires new machines as the technology become available.


Credit Line

Gift of Louis Pratt, 2016

Acquisition Date

4 May 2016

Cite this Object


3D printing machine, RepRap version .01 Darwin 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 November 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=3D printing machine, RepRap version .01 Darwin |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 November 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.