Re: [rp-ml] Open source whatchamacallits

From: Andrew Sofie (
Date: Thu Aug 11 2005 - 20:12:43 EEST

Adrian Bowyer wrote:

> First, all the scams that he describes companies using at the moment
> rely on the fact that the design of the hardware is controlled by
> those companies. That in turn relies on the fact that it costs
> millions of dollars to set up an X-box factory, or whatever.

Yes and it still will be expensive to create an xbox, in fact most
likely more than MS charges. In your project you specifically state it
will require a " kit" of parts to build even another FDM machine.
Imagine the "kit" it would require to make an xbox. And would people
have to solder the individual components to the board? Or would you need
another "pick-and-place machine for that?

Once all is said and done, your xbox ended up costing a lot.

We cant forget people used to make most of their own things but they
recently stopped because mass-manufacturing could offer them new things

> --0--
> Incidentally, one interesting area in all this that hasn't, I don't
> think, been addressed is pharmaceuticals. If one's home-fab machine
> allowed one to make a microfluidic chemistry set - which ought to be
> reasonably straightforward - then what's to stop patients making 50mg
> a day (take after meals) of Roche's latest billion-dollar patented
> heart drug? Remember that patent law allows individuals to make
> something that's patented for their own private use...
> Of course legal prohibitions on opiates, THC, cocaine etc go right out
> of the window too (as do the profits of the ghastly drug smugglers).
> But I think the above scenario is the more intriguing; especially as
> it has the potential to allow open-source collaborative drug development.
> The tricky question of drug trials (notoriously expensive) then
> arises. But if I publish a molecule and a synthesis pathway on the
> web and say that this has not been properly tried, but that the five
> mice that I gave it to have not - so far - been Gathered to God, then
> I can't see any real legal or physical obstacle to brave people trying
> it on themselves. Some will get better, others will croak, and the
> ad-hoc trial statistics will accumulate...
You are talking about atomic scale construction here. No one knows this
will be possible let alone the incredible amount of basic substances,
many of which are monitored, one would need to run such a true
"universal assembler".

Many current RP machines run on just a few expendable materials that are
relatively easy to obtain. The problem of manufacturing, distributing
and maintaining stock of all the building blocks of a "universal
assembler" means it will only be available to a select few.

This may be why nanotech received the funding.

Think about it; RP will undermine many aspects of patent law (not
pharmaceuticals though), undermine a great deal of manufacturing,
probably hit the design market pretty hard, undermine the distribution
industry (HUGE profits here), really undermine the retail service
sector ( The majority of jobs in America) and maybe undermine certain
aspects of government control.

Nanotech on the other hand will probably only be accessible by a select
few individuals, be relatively inefficient for building large objects,
improve nano-scale industrial profits (pharmaceuticals, electronics,
etc) and probably create more government ability and control.

RP is just too dangerous for a lot of people.This is really why it is
truly important as it has the potential to create vast social change.
Adrian knows this as does Steve and many others.

For me nanotech seems like a boondoggle for our time compared to the
immense amount of greatly needed work in RP technologies.

One final thing. RP right now greatly resembles the dawn of computer
tech. Only specialists used computers for decades until people
developed both "killer" uses for them and methods to interact with them
that the "masses" could understand.

Interface and work flow are essential to the spread of RP. As well as
the accessibility of "killer" designs.

Andrew Sofie
Kreysler & Associates
501 Green Island Rd
American Canyon, CA 94503
(707) 552-3500 voice
(707) 552-3501 fax 

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