Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The "Professional" Price of a Mendel

Likely not many of us make $21 an hour, especially in our spare bedroom, or shop wearing our hack around clothes. But that is around how much you can tell your family you are paying yourself as you spend a week or two printing the Mendel parts.

A company named Protovanage posted an advert on the RepRap forum, offering to print a full Mendel set. They didn't mention a price, but luckily for me they have a WONDERFUL web interface, that makes tracking out the costs of their printed items very easy. After adding up the costs of all the items to build a Mendel using their service (They offered some parts for Mendel that are not listed on the Mendel Assembly Data Sheet, but this might have been my lack of understanding considering I haven't even built my RepStrap Yet.

The Total cost of a Full set of RP parts for Mendel came out to $1,577.33. Or ruffly the equivalent of 2 Makerbots, or 1 Rapman and 8 pounds of ABS. Below is the spreadsheet that I used to come to this total, please tell me if I am wrong here.

The point of this post is not to beat up on Protovantage
, honestly I might use their service at some point if I have a part that must be printed to an extremely tight tolerance, such as extruder. They are the only Rapid Prototyper firm that I have seen that allows 1 off prints of any STL with an instant online price quote (considering all the Mendel parts came out between $5 and $50 a piece it might occasionally be worth using them).

My point is likely some people in the community are actually going to pay the $1,500 to get the pieces from Protovantage. Most will scoff at the price, but in a community where Darwin, and now Mendel parts have always been few and far between, it really raises a question.

If RepRap has put a factory in your shop, are you willing to pay yourself $100 for an afternoon reading a book while your Reprap sings The Gold diggers song to you?


  1. I think a company would pay that price without a problem. For the individual there may be a few.

    For me it's not about just getting Mendel. It's about the journey and the coolness factor of building an awesome machine while being a student of the technology. Also, I want to contribute to the body of knowledge where ever I can. I f I save some $ along the way - yah, that'll be cool.

  2. You have ommited the

    bed-height-spacer-31mm_1off from your parts breakdown.

  3. I spoke with a RP professional: he agrees on the catch22 of RepRap: Nobody invests in tools to fabricate cheap Mendel parts as there are already many RP machines who will undercut the price whatever it is when going to market.
    Solution 1: build a cheap tool for some parts.
    Solution 2: use a Buddah license: everybody receiving parts to build his ownh Mendel need to give 2 or 3 sets of Mendel parts for free but with the condition to give also to 2 or 3 Mendel builders the parts. If they fail to build theior Mendel they need to return the parts.
    kubitus @

  4. If I were to make my own mendel and then use that mendel to make more parts for mendels would the parts I make be accurae enough to be sold comercially?