Replicating Rapid-Prototyper

Adrian Bowyer, from Bath University (England), envisions a make-it-all machine that would enable you to design and manufacture yourself plates and many other consumer goods.

The idea is based on the “rapid prototype machines” used by industry to make plastic auto parts. A concept is detailed in 3D on a computer, and the machine manufactures the item automatically.


Bowyer thinks the machines, called Replicating Rapid-Prototypers, will even manufacture themselves, as little robotic factories could be instructed to make copies of themselves, and the clones would make more, and so on until the price of each became reasonable.

The researcher says he’ll put his plans in stages over the next four years on the Internet, so anyone can build one of these self-cloning devices.

The idea is not new. Bowyer’s device, if he succeeds, would be a techno-child of the never-built Universal Constructor, proposed in the 1950s by John von Neumann.

Via LifeScience. More details in PhysOrg.