Monday, May 24, 2010

RepRap - Open Source 3D Printer For The Masses

I can't begin to tell you how useful one of these would be to me. I am anxious to get one as soon as I can afford it.

When I got to the part about it printing off electrical conductors I almost wet my pants. The possibilities boggle the mind. To think I could print custom casings, keyboard trays, view shields and the actual circuit boards for Vault-OS devices is thrilling.


Solsys said...

Whatever resistance movement will exist in the future will need one of these.

Then it will be able to replicate it, and a lots of parts it couldn't otherwise get to (radio parts etc.)

We might also consider these things as some sort of insect infestation. If one, only one, survives, then it can start the whole "colony" all over again.

What I especially like with this "asexual reproduction" is that the "DNA" (assembly instructions) is variable to the infinite; as opposed to cells that can only replicate themselves.

Oh, and by the way, the resistance movement mentionned before will have to fight against these self-replicating machines, of course.

Anyone seen the movie "Screamers" ?

Intensely fearsome movie, because it's going to happen, eventually.

This will kick in as soon as it becomes available, simply because some decadent nations (USA, Japan, Europe) will not be able to afford "boots on the ground" in their fight against emerging powers.

Just drop a self-replicating colony of combat drones and worker drones, and the enemy will have to fight a mechanized anthill.

When the enemy gets itself some of these "ants" too, then we'll have a darwinian fight of the species, an "evolutionary arms race" in which the best, optimized versions of the same ants prevail.

WW3 is definitely not going to look like WW2-meets-the-Jetsons.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame you for getting excited, Tex! These things would make any admirer of gadgets, engineering or self-sufficiency drool.

These are amazing machines. It's taking tools for the masses to the next level. I've been keeping an occasional eye on the technology for a while now. Even the earlier models I saw were impressive. The next steps are just blowing even them out of the water. It can only be a matter of time before we've got our hands on the dream machine.

With the self-replication of parts and whole machines anyone can make their own back-ups and spare parts from that initial machine or make one for someone else, spreading it far and wide and ensuring no shortage of parts! An incredible tool. Versatile and robust and it eliminates the normal worry of a complex machine wearing out and needing special hard-to-obtain parts. Ideas and improvements can be shared directly and built at home with no time wasting. You could make your own dream machines or projects without the need for massively expensive, impractical custom build orders through a range of manufacturers and likely in a fraction of the time and without you having to rely on someone else to interpret or carry out your order as you wanted!

I can imagine you suddenly getting the idea for an improvement somewhere in the vault and with the virtual snap of a finger you have it or a whole set of them printing out parts you need to improve or replace something. It would add a new layer of self-sufficiency and versatility to your living.

Being able to build more identical machines from that first one also gives the tantalising prospect of being able to scale production capacity to whatever you need by simply getting the machines to replicate themselves at first until you have enough and then starting the desired project.

It is a true technical wonder, but sadly I don't see it covered much by the MSM. You'd think this thing or the concept would be headline news instead of celebrities taking drugs, seeing as it's practically a step towards a Star Trek replicator compared to the tools we have at home now. But perhaps this is a good thing if it can develop outside of the mainstream's hands and stay in the hands of those it was meant for.

Thanks for sharing the news and video, Tex.

Anonymous said...

This project has to go onto the to do list ..... oh so many things to to and oh so little time ...


Anonymous said...

Open source has created a self-replicating machine that can manufacture stuff. Add in artificial intelligence and singularity and we are witnessing the video game Robotron 2084 come to life.

A few minutes into this video and it's evident what the significant impact is. It will be so awesome, that the government will make it illegal simply because anybody could use this to easily manufacture hand guns and rifles.

I wonder what's the percentage of those involved in the open source movement who are underemployed or unemployed white guys who got squeezed out by affirmative action and never given a chance in the electronics/IT industry (a quick search on Google shows a few blogs complaning about the OVM being dominated by white guys. Never mind that they're mostly unpaid volunteers). Large companies pride themselves on "diversity" and become huge, immobilized monoliths who can no longer innovate--being crippled by both their large bureaucracy and ethnocentric politics which add to their cost of doing business.

The irony is that if these white guys were given a chance and hired by the big corporations, they would have wallowed in their cubicles spewing subpar company line BS while having the comfort of collecting a regular paycheck. Instead, these companies have to compete against these individuals who were rejected by them because they did not fit the "diversity" profile.

Innovation through adversity. Many of the greatest inspired creations and innovations are done under adverse conditions.

Rowan said...

Good point at 4:18. I just had some first hand experience with this myself. Before deciding to go to Australia, I applied to a few companies for Software Dev positions. One of the companies was only hiring women, presumably to fill a quota. There were only two female Computer Science graduates at my University this year. Crazy.

I did get offered a job at a power company though, which I turned down because I just don't see a future in Britain. I'll be better off picking fruit in Australia. As I've mentioned previously, half the Engineers (the better half) I know feel the same way.