Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Wonderful news for creative types around the world!
A New Zealand team of thinkers has put together an instructions list and pdf for a self-replicating 3-D printer.
What does this mean? What's a 3-D printer?
Okay, think of a normal printer. It sits on a desk and puts ink onto paper... Not bad, kind of a single-use item.
Now, a 3-D printer lays down plastic instead of ink, in multiple layers, and the end result is a 3-D object. A shot glass, a rear-view mirror, a motorcycle helmet; any object you can conceive of can be yours.
The RepRap team are offering a D.I.Y. kit for making a 3-D printer (or Fabber, for fabricator) that, once assembled, can instantly begin making a copy of itself.
You are then encouraged to give the copy away to someone that needs it.
You're asking: "Uh, but what about my patent rights? My DRM? My licensing fees?"
That time is over.
So, you go to RepRap.org, order the kit, make your fabber. Your fabber makes another fabber and you give it away. The recipient of your gift-fabber then makes another fabber and gives that away. Meanwhile, you've gone and made a third fabber and given it away, or you've held onto it and now are using both of your fabbers to refine and improve the design of the first fabber.
Your First Fabber has gone on to replicate an entire fabber family, and all who own fabbers are now free of the cycle of consume/throw out.
You see where this is going?
You will never have to buy anything again.
And yet anything your heart desires, anything that you could own that would improve the quality of your life will be available to you. All made of a non-toxic, biodegradable plastic.
I need a set of cutlery for a dinner party= I put some plastic into the fabber, turn it on, and in an hour or two, I have my cutlery.
The frame of my glasses broke!= My optometrist emails the specs and my fabber prints out the new frame.
I need elbow pads= Print 'em. Strap 'em on.
I am in a remote location and desperately need a syringe bulb to get a bug out of my ear!: Print one out, and squirt the little critter out of there!
I am in Africa and would like to build a wind turbine to produce power for my village= Fabber prints the parts, you assemble them. Everyone gets light to read by, energy to cook with, chill food with, and filter water with.
The possibilities are endless.
Anything you can conceive of, you can have. Nearly free. The only costs are the plastic and the power to run the fabber.
The above picture may not look like much, but the home fabber represents an enormous shift in human socio-culture.
It is the difference between being a consumer, and being a producer.
And you can have your very own right now.
Go to RepRap.org.
Free your wallet.
And an especially huge Thank You to the RepRap team.
Your generosity and forward thinking ways have improved life for us all.
Love and fabbers to all,
RepRap project @ wikipedia