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SCI/TECH: UK Professor plans to put a Self-Replicating Factory in every home!

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posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 08:29 PM
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Originally posted by makeitso

It takes a plastic material, and builds the material up slowly. Like a hot glue gun, only on a much more precise and smaller scale. It can take 14 hours to build some parts. The printer can "build/print" very intricate 3D models.
The plastic material is relatively inexpensive compared to building mock ups from clay, wood, etc.


We have one of these (actually, two) at my university. They are sooooo cool hehe. But, yeah, they are really slow, the one we have is often left to run over the weekend just to make a part small enough you can hold in both hands. It's wonderful for odd-shaped, custom parts that you only want one or two of, but totally useless for mass-production. The one we have has variable speed/precision, so that you can either make a poor product and do it in a short time, or make a high quality product and take like 2 days to make it.

There is another one I have a link for: www.ualberta.ca...
This one is at my university, it's from our computer science department. I don't have a link to the one in the engineering department, but it's the same concept, although I believe a different company made ours. Odd that something so cool is about as boring to watch as paint drying.




posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 12:21 AM
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This doesn't sound like a really big breakthrough to me. So many products have already had their cost reduced by mass manufacturing and some assembly or rather a lot of assembly may be required if you need chips, metal, glass, led's along with some wiring and soldering. I don't want to spend hours building a printer when I can go out and buy one for $50. The plastic used to make the parts may not be a very durable long lasting plastic either. Therefore you would have to constantly replace the parts and reassemble over and over again. It's an interesting idea but I don't see it as very practical so far. Some assembly may be required sounds like a big understatement to me. Imagine trying to build a car with a replicating device with a note: Some assembly may be required. If you look at a car or any device and look at all the metal, glass, wiring, chips, etc. that this device could not make or assemble, the device wouldn't help too much I believe.

For simple assemblies though, this device could be very handy. I can think of one material handling use which would be very helpful if the cost was cheap. It would be great for replacing custom molded trays which can cost thousands of dollars. That is if the assembly holds together well enough and someone could cheaply design an assembly to replace a molded tray design.
I do commend the guy for not seeking a patent.



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 07:13 PM
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This doesn't sound like a really big breakthrough to me.


Well I never said it was a major breakthrough, just the first step towards the Vonn Neumann's Universal Assembler
I think the innovative part about this is that it's under the GPL.

[edit on 22-3-2005 by sardion2000]



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 07:33 PM
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Originally posted by sardion2000



magine in the future if these things become even more mega complexed and able to produce more complexed things people could save thousands.


Not only that but our current economic models will have to be totally revised. Who knows maybe we will go back into an Artisan type of economy ruled by small businesses rather then mega-conglomerates. That is where I see this technology being the most usefull.





Agreed - this is what makes the whole thing so exciting - plus, the fact that it's Open Source.

...BUT - Could someone come along, take the technology and patent key applications? (Have seen that happen in biotech.)


.



posted on Mar, 22 2005 @ 07:48 PM
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...BUT - Could someone come along, take the technology and patent key applications? (Have seen that happen in biotech.)


Nope, it's all under the GPL, I guess someone can try but it hasn't really worked in the past. Open Source cannot be killed off, once the initial kernel is released it can become an exponantial trend. If he was going to for-profit rout it would have been under greater risk that way, as you stand the risk of being pressured into "selling out" which so many have done before. This way it's impossible.

www.gnu.org...

This link describes the GPL in detail.



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