Giving Up on my RepRap

Well, at long last I’ve decided to give up on building my Mendel. It’s been several months, and all I have to show for it is some hunks of plastic, a bunch of metal rods, and lots of circuit boards.

I think the main thing that pushed me over the edge was the many times that I’ve described RepRap to people, and they ask “so what are you going to build with it?”. I have trouble justifying building such an expensive machine just to make my own coat hook, which although it would be mine, I could have bought for a few dollars at Walmart.

I’ve spent so much time building this thing. What a waste.

I’m not even interested in mailing out the Mendel parts I’ve made, because I don’t want anyone else to follow in my footsteps and waste months of their lives. I think I’ll build a big pile of them, light a fire, and melt them all into one cool melted sculpture of failure.

Here endeth my journey. I started around 10/20/2009, so by today’s date that makes it 5 months and 10 days that I wasted on this unimaginative dull project. Sigh.

..Jeff Keegan, disallusioned.

[Edit: Gotcha! Man, some of you are pretty gullible (and/or don’t own calendars). :D

See the next post for a followup.

I’d blocked comments yesterday so no one would spoil it too early. I’m now passing those comments through, after this one (I’m not sure if WordPress will put those before or after this). ]

31 Responses to “Giving Up on my RepRap”

  1. crak says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think you could do it anyway.

  2. Todd says:

    Maybe you just need to take a break, go through your stack of unplayed video games, and get back to it later. Make some detailed notes of what you were doing, and what you plan to do, and then set it all aside. I bet you’ll change your mind later. You might not have a good idea of what you want to build right now, but if you have this thing, you’ll find a use for it eventually.

  3. Jim Jacobs says:

    Well you gave it on hell of a good shot! Bravo!

  4. Neil says:

    You are a bastard. I believed you, and just spent 5 minutes writing out a comment to lift your spirits.

    A pox on you and yours. ;)

  5. Will Ware says:

    I’m not sorry to hear that you’re stopping. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve chosen to interpret it as a waste of time. The comments on your blog tell me that others would disagree as I do. What I see is that you spent five months doing stuff that only a few people on the WHOLE PLANET have done, which fascinated myself and dozens of others and made us envious to wish we had the energy and the determination that you poured into it. You can choose the interpretation that your imagination and enthusiasm led you astray and ultimately you accomplished nothing, but do you really want to?

    You get to choose how you label this experience. The universe or God or your society do not get to label it for you. But your choice of interpretation has consequences. The immediate consequence will be how you feel about yourself. That will influence how you talk to people, and how they perceive you. There’s a rare opportunity here to look at this whole thing of consciously choosing your interpretation, and the resulting consequences.

    The other thing to be curious about is: what did I expect to accomplish, that I didn’t? If somebody else wanted that, and worked for it, and didn’t accomplish it, would I label them a fool or would I cut them a little slack for being willing to take a risk? Could there have been just some little bit of ignorance, something to measure, or some body of expertise I lacked?

    I don’t want you to pick up the project again unless you decide you want to. But I do want you to recognize the coolness of what you’ve been doing, and the inspiration you’ve been to your friends, your kids, and your co-workers. I don’t want you feeling bad for no reason. There’s nothing here to be ashamed about.

    When I was playing with my (much lamer) version of this stuff, I also had people ask, “so what are you going to build with it?” Finally I just decided to ignore that question. I still don’t have a good answer. Building one of these things is inherently cool, and the people who don’t get it just don’t get it.

    Right now the Makerbot guys have VC backing and dominate publicity. I went to a talk by Chris Anderson, current editor of Wired, and asked about the RepRap project and the guy just pooh-poohed it and said it would never get traction. I think he’s probably right in the very short term, and dead wrong in the long term.

    All the VC-backed commercial influence on how this stuff is publicized (Wired magazine, Make magazine) is likely to delay the arrival of the Adrian Bowyer revolution and modify how it looks. That business will wind down some day, and there will be a lot of expertise and spare parts left behind, and a lot fewer people asking what it can build.

    We are still in the Altair 8800 days, and people are still thinking the killer app is recipe cards. We don’t have VisiCalc yet.

  6. Branden says:

    Pick out a shiny new toy you would enjoy (ipod Touch, whatever) and tell me what it is because I’ll give one to you for all the non printed parts (you can still burn the printed ones if you want)

    I’ll even promise not to use the bits to build a reprap. I have other projects in mind that need the same components. If you’re anywhere near Boston, Madison, or Seattle, I can even have someone come pick them up off our porch.

    I’m sorry to see that you’ve lost interest with the reprap project, but that’s the same reason I haven’t built one. I have a few ideas of small things to build, but not enough to justify a reprap. I do, however, enjoy building things, and spend my time teaching kids about engineering in general, and the leftover bits from your project would be a great tool to get kids interested in science and technology in general.

    If you are willing to deal with the hassle of mailing them (before making a sculpture), I’ll certainly be able to get you something else in return. I can’t give your time back, but we can certainly make it less painful on the wallet.

    Thanks,

  7. Trevor says:

    At first I was upset that a fellow reprapper had just…given up. Then I noticed the date.

  8. Tony Buser says:

    gah I hate April Fool’s Day!

  9. Trust me you are not alone. I have several abandoned projects. Once purpose becomes hard to find the love dies.

  10. Ahhh… And a happy April Fool’s Day to you too sir.

  11. James Glanville says:

    Sorry to hear about that, but is there any chance you’d change your mind on destroying the parts? I’d be happy to pay for the parts with postage.

  12. Rencio7 says:

    That sucks….I’ve been following your blog for a while and it’s really helped me :) I would be interested in buying your electronics and anything else mendel related.

  13. Eric says:

    I’m guessing this is an april fools joke… Had me going until the part about melting a bunch of parts instead of selling them (for more than you probably have spent so far)!

  14. SheepdogRD says:

    I’m sorry this journey ended unhappily for you. Still, it seems a shame to waste your efforts. Maybe you could offer them to anyone who’ll pick them up and get them out of your sight; I’d bet there are lots of people who’d take you up on it. In, fact, some of them would happily pay you for the pieces. Perhaps that would help mitigate your loss.

  15. mfsamuel says:

    sorry to hear you are throwing in the towel. i have fielded similar questions about what I would make, and for me it is more about the process than the result.

    if you change your mind about smelting the rod and burning the plastic i’m sure there are plenty of people who could use your parts. i have family in NYC that could save you from the potentially noxious chemicals you would be producing (and deliver the parts to me).

  16. dad says:

    well – I have very mixed feelings about this —–

    also, there are parts of this system that still intrigue me –

    WAIT a minute –
    is this
    an April fool message ?????

    so continuing – I am intrigued by the software
    I am also interested in the scanning process whereby
    an existing object can provide input to the
    software which will then
    replicate it

    any unique and original object
    can be fashioned as long as dimensions
    can be provided

    from DAD
    Larry Keegan in Stoneham, MA

  17. Grogyan says:

    Thats sad, i’ve been building my RepStrap for a lot longer and its far less finished than yours by the sound of it.

    People ask me the same question about RepRap, so I just tell them its a 3D printer. 50% of the time they still have no clue to what a 3D printer is and I have to describe the concept to them.

  18. Cid Vilas says:

    So thats a sad ending to your project. Your parts looked very nice and it looked like you took quite a bit of pride in it. Really, rapid prototyping is just that, prototyping. This isn’t a machine that will replace the need to go shopping for parts and nick-knacks for your household. Its a cheap quick and dirty machine that can take concept and bring it to reality. I plan on using it to make random little enclosures and other mounting parts for electronics projects i get into. Its understandable how you feel. I had the same thought once early on in the project when people asked..”Whats the point?” Well these people were typically people who don’t think past what they know. Also people who work with tight tolerances may not see any use in a machine with such sloppy resolution.
    Oh well. If your skill set is much further evolved then what the Reprap project is, then of course the time is wasted. If you are new to code, robots, and design then this project can help you learn the basic which can then be applied to real-world jobs.

    Just my thoughts on the situation. Wish you luck!

  19. It is sad to hear that you’ve had such a bad experience. Mind, building a Mendel is a major undertaking to take from scratch. You’d have been better advised to have bought a Makerbot or much better, a Rapman 3.1 from BitsfromBytes in the UK.

    I bought a Rapman and have been designing and printing parts for a variety of projects ever since I commissioned it last Fall.

  20. Jacob says:

    Whoa, you almost had me there for a minute.

    Happy April Fool’s day to you too :)

  21. Adam says:

    April Fools.

  22. stephen george says:

    Grin. Been there. If you decide to throw the bits off a cliff please send pictures. I fully understand.

    But here’s the thing. When you finally get the thing working well. That feeling you have now is inverted and boy does it feel good.

    Stephen George

  23. Airplane Guy says:

    you know, the fact that you posted this on April 1st gives me doubts on if you are abandoning RepRap.

    That is all.

  24. jkeegan says:

    Man, some of you are pretty gullible (and/or don’t own calendars). :D

    See the next post for a followup.

    I’d blocked comments yesterday so no one would spoil it too early. I’m now passing those comments through, after this one (I’m not sure if WordPress will put those before or after this). [edit: apparently it put them before this, in chronological order.. so I edited the original post too]

  25. Jim Jacobs says:

    BASTARD!!!!!! hahahahhahahaha

  26. [...] posted about totally abandoning his dreams of building a RepRap Mendel.  He said what pushed him over the edge was the constant question, “So, what are you going [...]

  27. SheepdogRD says:

    You were the only one who “got” me all day. Good job, Jeff, sneaking one in close to the gut. You received some interesting and thoughtful responses, and that suggests it’s close to the gut for a lot of us . . . but that’s no surprise, is it?

  28. [...] to Jeff Keegan for unintentionally reminding me to post this.  [...]

  29. jkeegan says:

    Closing future comments due to repeated spam.