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

From: Adrian Bowyer (
Date: Fri Mar 25 2005 - 17:04:58 EET

Quoting Brock <>:

> 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.

One of the many freedoms that follows from the eschewing of any sort of ghastly
"business model" and just giving something away pro bono is that it liberates
you from the tyranny of customers and, worse, investors. Though I'm doing this
project, I have no desire to exercise any control over what people do with the
results, nor would I be one whit upset if some rival beat me to it and produced
one first.

But I think that people are underestimating geek-power, the mistake that was
made when Linux started. Look where that is now: I've just bought an ordinary
cheap DVD recorder; subsequently I discovered that it has Linux inside.

You only need a small percentage of geeks in a population who want to own an RP
machine that they can re-design themselves and give to their friends (if
any...) for that machine to improve beyond all recognition, and for the device
and its descendants to become very widespread.

Yesterday I was in our local engineers' supplies shop. There were queues of
people like me buying M4 cap screws, micrometers, aluminium extrusion and the
rest. Now, Bath is a city with a population of 90,000. Scale that up to a
planet, and you have an awful lot of designers. And some of them will be
quite good...



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