FoldaRap, the Folding Reprap

by watsdesign, published

FoldaRap, the Folding Reprap by watsdesign Jan 17, 2012
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FoldaRap, the Folding Reprap by watsdesign is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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Version 3.0 : in progress, support it via LiberaPay (open-source Patreon)
(bringing an easier folding/unfolding mechanism, from 5min to 2sec and a whole redesign)

Version 2.5 : released 21-jul-2015

More on the RepRap Wiki FoldaRap's page.
Lots of pictures/videos on flickr

Since 2012, I'm traveling around the town/country/world with my little folding RepRap !

I started by a folding reprap the size of a Mendel, based on my VertX, then a smaller version more Huxley-transportable, and finally I'm developping this one build with standard aluminium extrusions. The FoldaRap was the world's first foldable 3d-printer (yay!).

My adventures/travels with it gave birth to OpenEdge, which grew to make even more FoldaRap and Mondrian, then moved toward the industry/education with customs Alto and the HD/HD-E... and now I'm back to my roots, working on the next version of this nice little machine while exploring new business models that I find more fit with the world I envision (i.e. : micro-donations for the design/documentation rather than selling hardware, I prefer to leave that to other people).

(main pic by Belowdesign)


Go to the wiki !
Mix a bunch of 20x20 aluminium extrusion, some t-nuts, printed parts, shake.
Voilà  : a Foldable RepRap !


1) Download Sketchup to see the model assembled, folded, and play with it to get familiar with how it's made.

2) Get the latest version of the .stl from the Github repository

3) Print the parts with your favorite machine (need to be well calibrated)

4) Order the things you need, (look at the BOM), with a preference for local suppliers if you can.

5) Assemble (based on the 3d-model and all the pictures/video on the wiki/flickr)

6) Enjoy to easily travel with your sturdy and foldable reprap :)

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Now this would be a fun upgrade for my I3

Do you think I could re-use most of the parts from my Alunar m508 (Anet A8 clone)?

Hmm, electronics and motors yes, maybe some parts of the hardware too :)

I'm looking to do the same with most of my Anet A8. I looked into, briefly, the conveyor drive from the 1x2, but I am iffy about using drafting film to get a good grip.

My question is about the Y sliders and the build plate. I use Fleks 3D plates on my Anet, and would like to carry them forward into the rebuild. Would I build an acrylic plate that attaches to the sliders by springs and screws, and clip the Fleks plate to that? The pictures are not clear.

Also, How well is the rack and pinion system working for the Z axis?


I have yet to update the wiki for the version 4.0 http://reprap.org/wiki/FoldaRap_Build_Manual but if you have a look in the source file from the github repo (use Sketchup version 8 or newer) you should be able to tear everything apart and see exactly how it is assembled.

But indeed there is 2 plates for the Y-axis :
the acrylic plate (with linear bearing/igus/printed sliders) : http://reprap.org/wiki/File:FoldaRap3-Y-sliders.jpg
the aluminim plate (heated bed) with the glass/printbite/fleks(?) on top to print on : http://reprap.org/wiki/File:FoldaRap3_e3Dlite6.jpg
And there are springs and screws between the acrylic plate and the aluminium plate like in most RepRap designs.

The rack and pinion in Z are totally usable :)
But I had to fix 2-3 times the pulley on the motor shafts, after some use the grubscrew gotten a little loose in the plastic pulley (should have put locking glue).
And the only drawback I experienced since then : like for any "two motor driven axis" (typically the Z axis, but that's less visible with screws) is that sometimes at start-up when the motors receive current, one of them move a little to align to a full step making the two Z stage not at the exact same height. When it happen, I move 10mm up, put the motors off, everything fall to 0 with gravity, move 10mm up, move 10mm down and check if there is still an unwanted difference. Often it's enough, but sometimes I solved it by manually moving to the top, then bottom before trying to make the 10mm movement check.


After digging in deeper to the repo, I saw the files for the plates, and had a friend CNC them for me. I am absolutely excited about getting the Anet moved over to a Foldarap, and it looks like it won't be too far off. Getting the ball plungers was something of a nightmare here in the US for a reasonable cost.

Thank you for the tip on the Z axis! Knowing these things in advance helps to plan for them. :)

could I use a smoothie board or Rambo ?

a Smoothie barely fit but I did it once :)
I don't know for the Rambo but probably too.

I noticed that a couple parts are lasercut. Anyone know where i can get those? or can i just print them up as well?

Idealso like to know if there are STLs for the Laser cut parts please?

Will a Melzi 2.0 board be compatible with this?

yes it should fit inside like the Melzi 1 before :)

I'm actually more interested in building the Foldarap mendel with the 400mm and 300mm extrusions.

Can you share the BOM for that build?


Nevermind. I managed to download the plans from github and opened in solidworks. Those hex nuts and screws in the outer hinges are suspiciously large though.

I am shopping for steppers, and I don't know whether to pick some 0.8amp Nema 14s that produce 18N.cm or 1.2amp Nema 14s with 185mN.m (Unit Conversion?) for the X Y and Z axis. I am going to use Ramps with A4988 drivers. The 0.8a are preferable because they are $3 cheaper.

I thought recommended holding torque was up around 40Ncm.

for extrusion, but with a good hotend you don't even need that much

I am running with the 0.8amp ones for XYZ axis and A4988 without problems. See https://vimeo.com/139149619

Wow. That seems good enough to me. Thanks!

Are the Foldarap Mendel parts in github master branch a "final" design?
I'm willing to build a foldarap but I have lots of spare NEMA17s and don't want to spend more money.

BTW, can I use that same pieces with shorter aluminum extrusions?

Best regards!

it's not a final design but they are usable yes, and it will works with shorter extrusions too :)

I see mendel size has belt driven Z axis :S no "regular" pieces for NEMA17 then?

Too bad you will get shot when the police think it's a bomb lol

never got a problem :)

Any idea why the .dxf files won't open in illustrator? I've tried downloading the parts both here and from the GitHub Repository. Both versions most of the 2D (.dfx ) files open up in illustrator with a dialog box asking about text conversion, then it generates a strange page filled with random text and numbers.

Any ideas what the problem is/ has anyone had the same problem? Just trying to set the files for to be run on a laser cutter.

Are you trying to save the files directly from the '2d drawings' folder? Try downloading the master .zip from the main page on github, then using those files. Or you can click/open the file in github, then do a 'right click>save as' on the 'raw' button to download it.

I was thinking of modifying a Mendel i 3 to make it foldable, do you think that it is possible?

absolutely: I used mendel 90 to make it foldable, but I could have used prusa i3. I even think that it may have been a better choice because the x rods are one over the other. But as I was already comfortable with mendel 90 I worked from this model.

Here is the link:


hmm with a bit of redesign yeah probably :)
(but it may end to be simpler to build another printer)

if i were to increas the axis to fit a 200mm by 200mm hbp. would i encounter problems

there is a prototype that use nema17 and a 200x200 hpb, so yes it's possible :)
if you use the existing design for nema14, the one thing to probably change would be the 6mm rods of the Y-axis (in favor of 8mm ones I'd say)

I'm so going to build this after I finish with my Kossel

Is there anyway possible to use Nema 17 motors with this?? I have plenty of them around so then I would not have to buy more items.

Thanks for a great looking machine! I can't wait to build one!

I have a lot of Nema 17 too, but I think you could try. It will be a little bigger but luckily with more holding torque.

I have been looking for the FoldaRap Mondrain size. I saw it had Nema 17 motors and was 2020 extrusions. Is there a link for the files to be printed for that?

Some of them are in the github repo / souce files / Mendel size, but as I will have more time to design other things I will certainly publish a redesigned model for nema17 :)

is there any 3mm filament version of the foldarap?
Has anyone made one?

is there an updated version for the sketchup file for the 1.3? got problem with the printed t-nut on the foot...doesnt fit my 20x20 profile...thought of modifying it...thanks

go to the github repo for the source files ;)

thanks for the reply, what version is the one in thingiverse? doesnt seem to be the same as the on in github...please help

I think 1.0, but 1.1 is nearly similar: https://github.com/EmmanuelG/Foldarap/tree/master/stl/other%20versionshttps://github.com/EmmanuelG/F...

The current version in Github repo is 1.2, with replaced smooth rods in x-axis with alu extrusion.

is there a good source for the laser cut parts?

I can add them to Ponoko if you like, otherwise I'd say any local laser shop/fablab/hackerspace that can cut it for you :)

(replaced some old .stl's, but github is still the preferable location to download all the files)

replaced the y-end-idler and y-end-motor to match the overall use of M3 bolts

I really want one!

By the way, your kitify site is blank.


Glad you like it :D

about Kitify, I'm waiting for the first other prototypes before (as I'm still using some salvaged rubber roller, I would need to make a version for the more commons bearings)

now also on Github ! (thanks to github-for-windows that make it usable for me now ^^)


Do you have a direct link for the BOM?

Can't find it on the wiki :-[

Sorry it's on the http://reprap.org/wiki/FoldaRap_Buyers_Guidehttp://reprap.org/wiki/FoldaRa... ^^'

("*my spreadsheet blabla" the link is on the word spreadsheet)

excellent work!! I've been printing the parts. did u design the front left and front right foot to be very tight? coz Im having a hard time to slot the aluminium extrusion in to the little T-nut like printed hole. Im using bosch extrusion by the way. wouldn't it be a good idea to replace the t-nut thing to a hole that is fixed by actual t-nuts and screws?

I first used a hole instead of the t-profile, but after having tried it I though it could save some of these costly t-nuts ^^'

I'm printing them with a 0.5mm nozzle and with 1 perimeter, (the gap between the parts and the extrusion is 0.2-0.4 mm from each side so 0.4-0.8 mm in total), it's supposed to be a little tight for these part to allow a push-fit assembly with just one nut+bolt to secure it.
For the hinge that shou
ld slide on the extrusion, they just need to be moved manually for a few minutes until it slide as smoothly as desired :)

(I'm using KJN extrusion, they should be similar to the bosch http://www.aluminium-profile.co.uk/acatalog/Aluminium_Profile_with_6mm_Slot.html#aKJN_20992_20888http://www.aluminium-profile.c... )

I've indeed heard a lot of good things abt KJN plus they sell bosch as well so it should be similar, ill give it another try before I try and modify them..cheers

added the y-carriage that I had forgotten, and also a .zip to download all the files at once :)

Do you have a place where all the stl have been exported?

Just finished to upload all the exported .stl/.dxf :)

I export them from sketchup as needed.

And I upload them progressively while printing/validating them now.

(I plan to use only M3 but my prototype use M3 and M4, so I need to rerecheck everything ^^'). Anyway I think I will upload all the .stl for those who don't use sketchup, and then re-upload them if they change.

re-uploaded the x-carriage (the holes were not 3,2mm as intended)

18 may : 96% ! Soon it will print !!

11 may : 92% (first test moves !)

Great job!!! Very simple.

looks nice!

what software did you use to design it?

Thanks !

I used Sketchup, except for the eMaker Huxley parts that were imported from .stl and tweaked a little :)