Re: [rp-ml] New machines could turn homes into small factories (My 2 cents..)]

From: Brock (
Date: Fri Mar 25 2005 - 02:20:11 EET

I don't think the point here is whether you can design a machine that is
capable of making some of its own structural parts, such that those
structural parts are of sufficient strength and accuracy to make more such
parts of itself. The original article and some of Adrian's email responses,
if I read everything correctly, admit that all of the critical
high-accuracy components will need to be acquired. Adrian seems to be
suggesting only that you could have a robotic platform that incorporate's
some RP process able to make both structural and electrically conductive or
other functional parts. The simple answer to that should be, yes.

The real question is, why? What benefit is there? The answer to that, for
me, lies in robotics and artificial intelligence, where you would like to
have robots that can repair themselves, reconfigure themselves for a
variety of tasks, and even intelligently redesign themselves for
unpredicted tasks. Furthermore, if you have a community of similar robots
communicating with each other via the Internet, they could rapidly share
best practices. I see Adrian's idea as a potential platform for such
research. Is it pie in the sky for the average consumer? probably. But
there are more than a few people that are interested in trying to make it
work. If you follow the links on Adrian's Web pages to some of the others
interested in his work, I think you will find it very interesting to see
where they take you.

We already have robots that know when they need to recharge their batteries
and can find their own charging station. Is it really that far of a stretch
to suggest you can create a robot that is capable of operating an RP
machine? It wouldn't get nearly as bored waiting for its parts to come out
and wouldn't mind as much when it had to re-run a failed build.

Brock Hinzmann
Technology Navigator

Charles Norton wrote:

> Einstein also said "The difference between genius and stupidity is that
> genius has limits".
> Charlie Norton
> (513) 333-0221, x1
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Andres Chamorro III
> Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2005 9:32 AM
> To:
> Cc: Adrian Bowyer
> Subject: Re: [rp-ml] New machines could turn homes into small factories
> (My 2 cents..)]
> Albert Einstein once said, "If at first, the idea is not absurd, then
> there is no hope for it".
> Andres
> On Thu, 24 Mar 2005 12:24:33 +0000, Adrian Bowyer <>
> wrote:
> >
> > Bathsheba Grossman wrote:
> >
> > > That's not exactly my experience of how tolerance failures tend to
> > > work; I doubt it's a general principle that they fall on a bell
> curve.
> > > If they did, a complex part might have 20 dimensions, and if one of
> > > them happens to be right, you'd still rolling the dice on the other
> > > 19.
> > >
> > > I'd bet a dollar that the author of that paper has never operated a
> > > milling machine. A vertical mill with all the trimmings is the
> > > closest thing I can think of to a large-scale self-replicating
> > > machine, and think about what would happen if you took a Harbor
> > > Freight mill and tried to make another one.
> >
> > Not only do I operate one, I own one. It's in my workshop at home.
> > In all this talk of accuracy, remember this: people have been making
> objects
> > accurate to within the wavelength of light since medieval times using
> nothing
> > fancier than a knife edge and a candle...
> >
> > > There are only a few types of self-replicating machine in the known
> > > universe, all biomolecular: DNA-based life, RNA-based machines
> > > contingent on the "RNA world" hypothesis proving out, and parasitic
> > > prions if the "protein-only" hypothesis is true.
> > >
> > > If I were building such a machine, I'd be looking very hard at the
> way
> > > analog and digital mechanisms interact in those systems. There's an
> > > entropic principle that has to be overcome, and the way DNA does it
> is
> > > an awesome hack; any other such machine would have to be built
> around
> > > an equally awesome hack. DNA relies on the uniform nature of
> > > elementary particles, and therefore its existence may not imply a
> > > useful model for larger scales. If this problem did turn out to be
> > > soluble on the macro scale, that would have consequences far beyond
> > > having cheap SLA in every household.
> >
> > Hmmm. Doesn't human engineering as a whole also constitute a
> self-replicating
> > machine?
> >
> > Yours
> >
> > Adrian
> >
> >
> >
> >
> --
> _________________
> Andres Chamorro III
> 98 Boston Ave.
> Medford, MA 02155
> V: 508.566.3499
> F: 508.405.0134

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