There is a lot of help available for people building a RepRap machine. First thing I did to find help was to use Google and put together "reprap" and "kalamazoo" as search terms, since I live in Kalamazoo. I didin't find a lot with those terms, but if you were to do that now, the BuggerIT blog is first, second and third in the results. Hopefully this blog will be a resource to anyone in Kalamazoo, Michigan looking to build a machine, and of course anyone local who reaches out to me will get a response. I'm excited to help spread the word here in town.
You can also try to locate a local hackerspace. Members of any such club will almost certainly have heard of the RepRap project, and may even have a working one for you to see in action. In Kalamazoo there is a group that might roughly be called a hackerspace, but I couldn't find any evidence of RepRap or desktop/home CNC in anything they had online. Also, it just didn't seem like a place I'd like to go, so I guess I'll have to start my own hackerspace in Kalamazoo that's more my style!
If you expand your search to the state or provincial level, you will find some level of support there. In my case there is a Google Group called RepRap Michigan which is somewhat active. I have posted there and gotten responses. I think I found the group through the RepRap forums or the RepRap Map.
Expand your search from there and you can go straight to the global community. The first stop, of course, is the reprap.org web site itself. The videos available with the build instructions for the Prusa Mendel at least are very instructive. The best place to look for help of all though, is the RepRap IRC channel. On the IRC channel you will find all the people who are actively involved in the RepRap scene, and because it's promoted heavily as a source for help, also by beginners like you and me. I just spotted prusajr himself.
- RepRap IRC (because it's worth mentioning twice)
- RepRap Blog
- RepRap Wiki
- RepRap on Twitter
- RepRap Log Phase (blog)
The video above is a test of what the video quality should be when I get started with project documentation. I'll have a second camera over my shoulder looking down on the table for a detail shot. My plan is to video everything and go step by step through the process in excruciating detail. The videos on the assembly page by RepRap Log Phase are great and all, but I think they move too quickly and use terms an absolute beginner might find intimidating and unapproachable.