Re: [rp-ml] New machines could turn homes into small factories

From: Adrian Bowyer (
Date: Thu Mar 24 2005 - 17:11:36 EET

John Eric Voltin wrote:

> Thanks for your response. You make some interesting points and this
> topic has clearly brought out a wide variety of opinions on RP-ML.
> I was imagining a very complex system with specialized components such
> as a high power laser, motor controllers, an array of sensors, etc.
> Many of these would either be purchased separately or the RP system in
> question would be much more capable than those in use today. In
> contrast, you may be talking about a different type of RP system that
> minimizes the need for such specialized hardware. What are you imagining?

The thing we're working on at the moment is a linear servo axis that is accurate
and repeatable to within 0.1mm, and that can be made entirely using RP with the
exception of the electric motor, a silver-steel rod, and a small timing belt
(and, possibly, the position feedback, though we have some ideas about how to
achieve that using RP together with a little human patience and dexterity - see
the web pages.) The axis will be made modular, so that it can be easily
extended, though we realise we will drop accuracy when we do that.

When that's done we have the basis of either a cartesian or a polar movement
system. Polar is unusual in RP, but it has the (significant) advantage that it
can make rotationally symmetric parts very cleanly. So we aren't discounting
that particular eccentricity (if that's the word for a polar system...) yet.

Next we'll turn our attention to the material deposition system. Again we're
being pulled in two directions: thermoplastics, which are nice because they are
so much easier to recycle, and thermosets, which are just easier to work with -
particularly now you can get these ones tuned to polymerise in response to blue
LED light.

We also have this idea that goes back to the brilliant John Sargrove in the
1940s for incorporating metals into the parts. His valve radio was, in my
opinion, one of the landmarks in production technology.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Mon Jan 02 2006 - 08:09:08 EET