Autarchy of the Private Cave

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    Self-making machine: RepRap

    4th June 2008

    A year, maybe two ago, I came across the news that someone’s constructing a “building printer”, in the sense that it is first filled with liquid concrete, and then – given the schematics of the building – “prints” concrete, producing almost-any-complexity architectural forms. Unfortunately, the names and links to that instance of object printing was lost and forgotten.

    However, I have just stumbled upon the news item about RepRap, which is claimed to be “self-reproducing”. Clearly, this isn’t true, but RepRap – replicating rapid prototyper – is able to produce (some?) of the components necessary to build another RepRap.

    I’d like to point out that

    “Think of RepRap as a China on your desktop.”

    by Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager, Google Inc., is an offensive and unacceptable phrase, which shouldn’t have been put at the top of the quotes. I’d hack down that RepRap website for this single quotation, and would feel vende vindictive towards Chris, if I were Chinese. But that’s not a long time to wait to see China rising and this kind of jokes vanishing.

    That was a side note.

    Continuing on RepRap, I do find it’s uses intriguing. For the best of everybody, there’s a how-to build reprap page.

    First uses which came to my mind were… a new plastic cup, and a custom notebook/PC body/case, to put standard components into and enjoy the benefits of the perfect custom design :)

    Apart from simple things like cups and actually “fast prototyping” (which does depend on the precision of RepRap), there aren’t that much uses for the SOHO owner of RepRap. But as soon as some small-scale silicon-growing/cutting machines become available, that would definitely open up the whole new world of custom gadgeteering and home-brewed electronic wonders. Also, the level of global and local espionage activities will explode, and Big Brothers will grow like mushrooms after raining cats and dogs.


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