RE: nano and RP

From: Charles Overy (
Date: Tue Aug 28 2001 - 01:05:03 EEST


You may have noticed that Scientific American this month has a number of
articles on nanotech. There numerous links in the mag as well as at:

Having worked on "Star Wars" misslie defense in the first Regan boom, I am
extremely dubious of "national initiatives" particularly when they come to
pushing money at ideas that are very ill defined projects. The Nanotech
initiative seems too close to me. However if this is the only way to get
basic research dollars out of a republican administration then so be it.
Hmmm this probably was not the discussion you were hoping to inspire...

Micro assemblers that can put things together molecule by molecule a la
Drexler seem to be a pipe dream.
However the technology at larger orders of magnitude seems to be very
exciting. To me one of the very interesting technologies is self
replication. At what point can a machine make a copy of itself so that you
can get exponential growth in output. Until that happens you have to have
very expensive and specialized machines that are dedicated to making
specific lines or types of components. A machine that could operate at a
scale fine enough so that the generic properites of its source materials
could produce a wide variety of functional outputs would be very exciting.
For instance, what about an RP type machine that could opperate at the
molecular level with carbon. It should be able to produce a part that has
carbon nanotubes, buckyballs, loose carbon powder, and possibly diamonds all
from one "feedstock" However, managing the energy input and molecular
bonding is perhaps impossible if not very difficult.

One thing is for sure. The parts won't use STL format, hooray!


-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of jim quinn
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 11:49 AM
Subject: re: nano and RP

Elaine -

re: nano/RP thread below

If you are talking about nano-manufacturing, then there is
a long way to go. Most of the current MEMS work is still meso
or micro at best. Even for litho, 0.1microns is 100nanometers.



> From Mon Aug 27 13:27:24 2001
> To: RPML <>
> From: Elaine Hunt <>
> Subject: a new thread
> I am interested in hearing opinions about how nanotechnology and RP will
> one day combine or merge and impact product development. IBM's latest
> development in transistors is a great example of size reduction and this
> development will lead to a new breed of computers. What do you see
> happening in the area of CAD for nano objects, hardware development,etc?
> Elaine

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