Boffins build self-replicating replicating machine
For £300, so can you, thanks to open sourcery
If none of the iPhone cases available suit your needs, then why not make your own? It’s possible, say a team of researchers that have designed a printer capable of making almost anything - including more of itself.
The RepRap 3D printer can make all sorts of objects, including itself
The Replicating Rapid-prototyper (RepRap) was created by scientists from the University of Bath and is essentially a printer that’s able to build 3D plastic objects, such as door handles. It uses a technique called “additive fabrication” to 'print' thin layers of molten plastic which then solidify. Spray another layer on top of the first, then more layers, and you can make useful objects.
The parent RepRap gave birth to another RepRap
RepRap has even been used to create another version of itself, essentially seeing the original, or parent, machine create a so-called child version. Although 3D printers aren’t a new concept, the team claims that RepRap is the first such machine able to ‘print’ itself.
The researchers based RepRap on open source software and published tutorials online that describe the machine’s design process. Using its plans, the Bath University team claims a motivated amateur could build themselves a RepRap for around £300 (€380/$590).
Dr Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in engineering at Bath University, oversaw the RepRap project and said the machine allows people to make exactly what they want.
An iPhone holder made by the RepRap
“If the design of an existing object doesn't quite suit their needs, [users] can easily redesign it on their PC and print that out. They can also print out extra RepRap printers to give to their friends,” added Bowyer.
Vaccum cleaner bigwig Sir James Dyson even sucked-up the courage to publically congratulate the Bath University team on its RepRap success. “It could allow people to change the ergonomics of a design to their own specific needs,” he said.
If you’re inspired to build your own RepRap, then a list of the parts required and details of how then to put them together are available online here.
From the Wax Cylinders Association
We at the Wax Cylinders Association believe that this technology is going to become the main culprit for the duplication of our member's IP. This is more damaging than even P2P and Terrorists COMBINED.
On a more serious note, I can just imagine the spam this will attract. You think you're downloading a nice new tabletop, set it printing and go away to watch tv. On your return, you'd find a large plastic cock waiting for you bearing the slogan "Want one of these? Visit xxxcreditcardthief.co.ng".
Ignoring the obvious limitations
And looking to the future, I can see my grandchildren, possibly my kids involved in a legal dispute that makes the current anti p2p farce look utterly trivial by comparison.
If you REALLY want a flying car, try http://kalecoauto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=16
Satisfaction guaranteed because: "We know you'll like it - No one has EVER returned one of these kits!"
Which is the replicant...
Are you sure the machine didn't make the boffin on the right? He looks suspiciously like a younger version of the boffin on the left!
You can by the parts from a UK company.
If you go to the rep rap home website (use google). They list suppliers. One of the suppliers makes basically complete hardware kits.
I think they are over stressing the self replicating part because it can't print the chips, capacitors, metal bars, and etc. the only thing it really can replicate of itself is the plastic parts.
One of the first things that they recommend after building the rep rap is to print spare parts (all of the little plastic parts that hold the thing together).
What this thing really is a cheap, reasonably large scale 3D printer. If you are an Industrially Designer you may have one that cost you 5 to 6 figures. This printer can be done for under 4 figures easily.
This would be great for modelers or designers. It is nice to see your product in real 3D.