Re: [rp-ml] Make magazine

From: Steve Baker (
Date: Thu Jun 09 2005 - 09:35:09 EEST

Brock Hinzmann wrote:

> I can see why you want to standardize parts, especially when you want to
> prove it can be done. What I was thinking was, can we imagine that some
> circuit boards from some devices, like a certain model cell phone or
> computer mouse, are so widely available that you could have,
> essentially, a standardized part?

You could certainly design a machine to use a specific set of recycled
parts like that - but the idea of the RepRap project is to cause a vast
number of machines to magically spring into existance.

Whilst some people would happen to have a dead Microsoft mouse for the
sensors, an obsolete IBM model XYZ hard drive for the motors and so
on - a bunch of other people would only have an old Logitech mouse and
an obsolete Western Digital hard drive that wouldn't mount correctly
into the plastic housing that the standard replicator would have produced
for it.

This would either cause a vast increase in the design effort to cope with
all possible small motors and all possible mouse sensors, or it would result
in only a very small number of people being able to make a working replicator.

Having to pay for a stock of materials (motors, sensors, axles, PIC's)
is unfortunate - but so long as it's a bearable cost (something like the
cost of a good 2D printer), it won't limit the spread of the technology.

Standardization is important IMHO.

Where this system WOULD help the recycling business would be that there would
be a HUGE incentive for people designing things for the replicator to build
to use only parts that are in the standard set. So if your child is bored
with his raprep'ed toy, you can pull it apart, snap out the batteries, motors,
axles, computer board, etc, toss the plastic into the recycler - then have
your replicator build a new toy. You'll already have all the parts left
over from the previous toy - and you know that they'll all be reusable in
the new one.

This is definitely where the world needs to be to make recycling actually
work. But you have to get everyone using the standard set of parts from
the get-go.

> In other words, have you
> thought of leaving some part of the design open to such modifications?

According to the web site, it's an OpenSource/OpenDesign system - so yes!
People will of course generate improvements and variations.

---------------------------- Steve Baker -------------------------
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