Solar-powered RepRap prints even when the power is out


[Mark] wrote in to share a little creation that he is calling the first solar-powered 3D printer in existence. While we can’t say that we totally agree with him on that title, we will give him the benefit of the doubt that this is the first solar-powered RepRap we have seen thus far.

You might remember [Mark] from his previous exploits, but rest assured that there’s little possibility of anyone losing an eye with this one. He has taken his RepRap outdoors, and with the help of a solar panel plus a few batteries from Harbor Freight, he has the world’s first solar-powered RepRap*.

The trick behind keeping the RepRap running for such a long time with the sun as its only power source lies in the RAMPS board [Mark] uses. He has the 1.3 revision of the shield, which enables him to print objects loaded from an SD card rather than requiring a computer to be connected at all times.

So, if you happen to need the ability to print 3D objects where an extension cord cannot possibly reach, check out [Mark’s] setup and get to building!

* Maybe. Perhaps.


  1. andrew says:

    Wow, those are pretty big spools of material. Is that typical?

  2. macegr says:

    This IS pretty cool, but I would bet that someone with an off-grid solar setup has a RepRap, and they don’t even have to take their machine out in the yard. :)

  3. thip says:

    If you think that is cool you should definatly take a look at this

    it takes the concept to a whole new level.

  4. bzroom says:

    the solar system looks separate in the picture. they could take that outside, leave the machine inside, and just use an extension cord.

  5. buzzkill says:

    So it is not really solar powered. It is battery powered with the batteries being charged by the sun.

  6. Max says:

    My only question is “why?”. I can’t imagine many scenarios : “quick, the grid power died, print out that thing you’ve previously converted to gcode and saved to an SD card, that will save us”…
    “Oh dear, it took too long to print, got dark and now we need to wait till morning to try again.”
    It’s not even particularly portable looking.

    • N0LKK says:

      Why would anyone reading this blog ask, why anyone do anything that’s posted here? ;) Asking the obvious question. Perhaps he had the panels, and batteries anyway, along with the printer, and said I’ll do this, just for the hell of it. And having a video camera he recorded a video for the same reason.

  7. fartface says:

    So now “SOLAR POWER” it like internet…

    Doing something that everyone else is doing but “SOLAR POWERED” makes it special?

    Any fool can take a makerbot and buy $2100 in solar panels and a inverter and make a solar powered reprap.

  8. fartface says:

    Ahh take that back. It’s $199 in Harbor Freight solar panels. and it’s NOT running off them.

    That’s a 45 Watt panel kit. it has ZERO chance of running a reprap. The solar panels are there for show.

  9. N0LKK says:

    Yea there’s always going to be some problem with declaring something to be first. Most often with Semantics. However it looks to me that Mark’s first solar power printer can more easily be transported the location of Markus’ location, and print something more so that Markus’ printer can be transported to Mark’s location, and print something. With out dumping truckloads of sand on the nice grass anyway. To keep things entire equal the sand should be transported from the Sahara. Not to belittle Marks efforts, most if use could have solar powered a 3D printer if asked. I I’m sure most of us if ask to solar power a Sand Sintering Printer would have a WTH? reaction.

  10. jim says:

    So long as it doesn’t spawn an exponentially growing number of reprap machines until the planet is one big ball of reprap machines making reprap machines out of reprap machines…

  11. reprap_fanboy says:

    The inventor of reprap Adrian Bowyer is running his reprap making factory off solar power and feeding the excess back into the grid. HAD is this just flame bait?

  12. It is an example of Roboeconomics. Congratulations!

    We will use renewables to let machines make all we need, so we don’t need to work but can live in a clean environment.

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