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