Make Money with your MakerBot by eBaying RepRap Parts!

Posted by on Sunday, March 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


MakerBot found early inspiration in the RepRap project. A RepRap is a self replicating, rapid prototyper. Adrian Bowyer, it’s founder, supported MakerBot as an early investor, giving us money to put stuff on the shelves at MakerBot when we were just beginning. Zach designed the Generation 3 Electronics to be modular enough to work for MakerBot and RepRaps.

The RepRap, like MakerBot, is open source and the RepRap team is super smart, resourceful, and sharing which makes them superstars in the 3D printing world.

Zach, Adam and I got into 3D printing a few years ago hacking on it in our free time and just trying to make a machine that would work. Zach’s RepRap Darwin machine broke a few minutes after he had spent 3 years building it and my McWire machine actually caught on fire in Austria and started emitting the magic smoke of burnt up electronics.

A few years later, it is still not trivial to put a RepRap together, it requires a lot of enthusiasm, a healthy dose of bravery, and the ability to navigate a project that is growing and changing every day. There aren’t step by step instructions which makes it a very challenging project.

To make a RepRap requires having a 3D printer, a classic chicken and egg problem solved by having a MakerBot! You still need to buy the nuts and bolts and motors and belts, and rods and plastic and wood and so on, but the plastic parts are totally MakerBottable!

RepRap Mendel Printed Parts on eBay (end time 14-Mar-10 11_15_06 GMT)-1

There is a great demand for these parts such that creating them and selling them on ebay is like 3D printing money! Adrian Bowyer recently sold a set of Mendel parts on eBay for 420 Pounds ($630 US Dollars). Adrian encourages folks to make them and sell them too.

The mendel is a big machine and it takes a lot of time to create all the parts, but if you’re looking for something easier with smaller printed parts, there is a new mini-mendel.

There’s no knowing how long the RepRap gold rush will last, but for now, if you’ve got a MakerBot, you can put it into service making RepRap parts, sell them on eBay and make money with your machine by making parts for RepRap machines! Here are all the things tagged with Mendel on Thingiverse which should point you in the right direction so you can start printing parts!

Update: One of the MakerBots (#170) that made a ton of the pulleys for batch 7-9 MakerBots has an ebay auction for Mendel parts up right now! Go check it out!

Photo by Batist!

Tagged with 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  • Aragorn86
    March 21, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I totally agree and i am hard at work trying to print all the parts for Mendel. However as all of you know printing the whole set is like an epic quest. Some parts are lot harder to print than others and you can’t print all the parts with standard Makerbot.

    So what we would really need is some shop that would buy individual parts from printers and then selling the whole sets to buyers. Obviously there should be many shops like one in US one in Europe. There has been discussion of this on several blogs and forums, but what i don’t understand is why anyone hasn’t start doing something like this. With this kind of setup i’m sure that we would get Mendels in the wild lot faster than now.

  • Reinoud
    March 21, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Sounds like a good idea Aragorn86; hmm… if my RepRap is finished i could also contribute. Only thing is really, how do you agree on pricing of the sub parts without having too much of a risk financially. Quality is key too, not only price. Hmm… quality scales determining the price. This needs to thought over!

  • My own plastic gnome | MakerBlock
    March 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

    […] MakerBot posted a screenshot of a RepRap Printed Mendel Parts auction that sold for 420 pounds – roughly $630.84. 1  2  Others have been posting RepRap Mendel auctions as well.  One just sold for roughly $453, another for about $270, with two more auctions around $450 each with at least 3 more hours to go. […]

  • Lindsay
    March 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Hey! Thanks for linking to the MakerBot #170 Mendel Parts. We wanted to let you know that we have relisted the parts due to misunderstanding with bidders. We are only shipping in the US currently, thanks for your interest!

  • Mr.Rat
    June 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Just a question what is the cost to make all the printed parts of mendel I mean
    how much plastic must be used ?

  • Grant
    March 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

    My only concern is that if all I can print are parts for more machines, it’s sort of like Amway 😉

    Is there a market for other parts that can be profitably served with these machines?

    • MakerBlock
      March 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      @Grant: You can print anything. That you can print parts for more machines only makes a 3D printer that much more amazing. Asking if there’s a market for other parts that can be profitably printed is the same thing as asking whether there’s a market for plastic parts.


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