Mark Ganter and his team at the University of Washington Mechanical Engineering Department’s Solheim Rapid Prototyping Laboratory just cut the time it takes to make a RepRap Prusa Mendel 3D printer. Instead of the usual week it takes to output all of the printable parts that comprise a Prusa Mendel, Ganter and students, Scott Tandoi and Travis Nicholes, created a set of silicone RTV molds to produce the parts in a mere fraction of the time. He states that all of the plastic parts for a complete Prusa can be produced in under 30 minutes. You’ll still have to finish some parts with a drill press, but to have all the parts ready in under a hour, rather than a week, is pretty impressive.
They’re calling their version of the Prusa Mendel a Clonedel and plan to “release working STL files of the mold plates to the community at large (hopefully, within a week).” [Thanks, Matt!]