Standing in a cold workshop in North London, Tom SimoniteI looks with anticipation at a strange metal and plastic device.
When a piece of plastic is pulled into a bucket in its center and heated, a pungent smell wanders out of the machine.
The molten plastic is sprayed from the nozzle onto the platform that moves below to form a pattern.
The nozzle can also be moved up and down, building the design up like a professional cake machine.
In the next few minutes this "MakerBot" will do something that I can only dream of doing & colon;
It will create a spare part for itself as insurance for future disasters.
Staring at Heath Robinson.
Before me, it was hard to believe it-and hundreds of other devices-was paving the way for an era of desktop computers that could make anything, including copies of themselves
This could be a revolutionary era.
MakerBot is one of a range of desktop manufacturing plants being developed by researchers and enthusiasts around the world.
Their goal is to create a machine that can repair itself and eventually replicate.
To find out how close we are to this goal, I came to the hacker space in London, a public workshop where software developer Russ garlitt kept his MakerBot.
Like 900 other enthusiasts, Garrett bought an email
Order & dollar from New York MakerBot Industries;
750, the machine made by itself.
MakerBot and most of its relatives are basically a cut
The price of 3D printers is reshaped.
While the cost of professional machines is still as high as tens of thousands of dollars, an alliance of academics and hotfixes has created versions that do the same for a lower price.
Anyone with hundreds of dollars and some spare time can build their own 3D printers from a set of plans distributed free of charge on the Internet.
"Anyone with hundreds of dollars and some spare time can build a 3D printer from a set of free plans," These machines can build any number of things, includes everything from the hook to the ipod dock.
The owner of a MakerBot even used it to make his engagement ring.
But the key to MakerBot's popularity is its ability to make its own spare parts.
Each kit contains a small number of other parts made by MakerBots and connects them to a mechanical family tree.
The MakerBot family is RepRap (
See "replicators ")
-The first machine was designed to replicate parts and brains of Adrian Bowie, mechanical engineer at the University of Bath, UK.
In 2006, he started the project with two goals & colon;
Create a 3D printer that anyone can make and use and enable it to self-replicating.
Most importantly, it will have an open
SOURCE design to encourage anyone to modify and improve it.
At present, RepRap can make about half of its own parts, including joints and shells.
Some components, such as steel bars and microprocessor, are not available at the moment.
Nevertheless, the mechanical descendants of Boyer reached an important milestone in November 2008, when Dwyane Botz, Canada, announced that he had created all parts of a printable replica with his RepRap-this was the first time a lab was done in the "wild" outside of Boyer.
A few months later, it sold a box of beer online.
Since then, Bowyer's first design, known as Darwin, has been replaced by smaller, more reliable Mendel.
"If you discount nuts and bolts, Mendel can print out half of the machine parts in less than three days," Bowyer said . ".
Mendel can make parts in the same proportion as Darwin, but Mendel is a simpler, smaller, and more reliable machine.
It can also make something much bigger than Darwin.
Since then, dozens of other people have used their machines to make mothers, sometimes selling their offspring to other enthusiasts eager to own their own machines for hundreds of dollars.
This has led to a veritable ecosystem --
It is estimated that there are now 3000 machines, and Bowyer is now mainly committed to making Mendel more robust and human.
Friendly wildlife began to evolve into different forms.
While exploring the RepRap forum, I came across a forum with the potential to be more self-contained
Copying more than ever before has caused some exciting comments.
Poster Frank Davis, a proud owner in Houston, Texas, cleverly built a poster using parts salvaged from Point matrix printers and Xerox copiers, he is now working to make his report completely printable.
Davis, an engineer at NASA's space shuttle program, is actually replacing RepRap's skeleton with his own skeleton.
The track that slides in place of the print nozzle is Plastic concertina-
Like Sarrus linkages, the mechanism was originally used to ensure that the steam piston was moving in a straight line in an era when reliable straight rods were not available.
The two vertical hinges connect the moving parts so that they can only move along the remaining unrestricted axes.
"Another member of the community mentioned this connection, so I Googled it and ran away with the idea," Davis said . ".
The result is a prototype whose platform moves in two directions without using a single steel rod.
Davis is working to increase the third axis and print head so that an unprecedented number of RepRap species can be printed.
"If it goes well, it should be done in a few months," he said . ".
"Because I have a printer that can make objects of any shape, it's not hard to try new things.
"Other attempts to make more parts printable include replacing the rubber belt of the machine with a printer holder --and-pinion gears.
However, there is a limit on the number of machines made of plastic alone.
What we need is a machine that can make parts made of many different materials.
The search results led me to Neil Gershenfeld, head of the MIT bit and Atomic Center.
Gershenfeld is busy promoting FabLabs and colon cancer.
The room size squash court is packed with all the necessary equipment to carry out any design and produce work products with quality that matches the professional commissioned prototype.
He has been spreading the word-so far there are FabLabs in Afghanistan, the Netherlands, Colombia, Ghana, the UK, Kenya and South Bronx New York.
In the process, he realized that what FabLabs really needed was to be able to create itself.
"When they can do this, these tools will really succeed," he said . ".
Gershenfeld promises that FabLabs will be in the existing lab within a year or two.
"We will still buy some components like the micro controller and the stepping motor, but we will make everything else.
Ilan Moyer, who recently graduated from MIT, built a machine called MultiFab, supporting the claim.
Like RepRap, it is made of parts and materials that cost only US dollars; 400.
It can also print plastic, but it can also use milling and cutting tool heads to carve the shape of wax, cut vinyl, grind lightweight plastic and wood, and carve out conductive traces of custom circuit boards.
The first thing the finished machine does is to carve a piece of circuit board to replace its own.
Moyer has tried using it to perform sequential operations-print the structure and then put the finishing work on its shape with the milling tool-and plans to add a laser cutting head.
"In the end, I hope to be able to put a FabLab in my briefcase," he said . ".
Nevertheless, although these machines are clever, they just produce a bunch of parts.
What about assembly?
A pile of plastic and metal is not a machine, just like you don't have much in common with a pile of meat and bones.
Greg Chirikjian, a robotics expert at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, agrees.
"When a prototype makes only parts, the machine that makes these parts will not be copied," he said . ". A true self-
Replicator must handle manufacturing and assembly at the same time.
Chirikjian and his colleague Matt Moses aim to achieve this with a Lego toy that does not require anyone to play.
The couple have used about 100 plastic blocks to show the key components of the system.
While it can't make the blocks itself, the machine is able to move in 3D, pick them up and bind them to a larger structure.
Moses is currently trying to make a complete replica of his own structure with Lego.
Like bricks, although the machine still relies on the traditional motor to drive its activity, the traditional motor must be installed manually.
The block is a simple rectangular plate with two threaded holes and four tapered holes
Connectors of the shape, which are routed through metal, so they can be used to make electronic circuits if needed.
Screwdriver for machine-
Tools like picking, stacking, or fixing blocks.
A series of basic blocks assembled together can act as slides, and other components (made up of their siblings) can be moved by the connected motor.
Chirikjian says the blocks are made of polyurethane and the process needed to make them can be mastered by a desktop machine.
The machine can spray a substance, such as silica gel, on its own spare parts before pumping polyurethane to copy the original to make the mold.
The couple has shown that the modified RepRap head can fill the gaps left by the wiring to save and put lowmelting-point alloy.
With the addition of several magnets, Moses has now built a powerful motor.
This looks promising & colon;
In theory, desktop machines that can make complex electronic components should be able to make copies of their own electronic brains.
Hod Lipson, a robot researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, said there are more possibilities.
His students gave a lecture.
Like the 3D printer project Fab @ Home, it is designed with two syringes that can spray two materials at a time.
Researchers at Lipson's lab are using a similar number
Fold the print and assembly into one step by printing a fully functional module that does not need to be assembled.
"We are in the transition phase from printing parts to printing systems and we are working on printing a complete robot," Lipson said . ".
"He said the team will know when this milestone has been reached, on the day when what they print is crawling from the printer under their own power.
So far, the team has managed to print out working versions of the main parts of the robot and colon;
Electronic Muscle actuators, relays, transistors, batteries and circuits.
For example, electrodes and wiring can be made using silver particles mixed into silicone, while most of the battery can be made using paste of zinc particles and liquid electrolyte.
A robot arm stands next to the exchange syringe box as needed.
Although the component is far less off-the-
Lipson is convinced that his team only needs to find the right material.
His goal is to find a relatively small palette that can be mixed together to create various components.
"Just like red, green and blue can be used to print the full color, it will be very powerful.
"The goal is to find a small material palette that can be mixed together to create a wider range ", lipson's team had a mountain to climb to control his machine before printing this microchip, he said, adding that there is a fundamental restriction on copying machines & colon;
"What you print can't be as accurate as what you print.
"Although the offspring of the machine may function perfectly for generations, minor errors accumulate gradually, so the parts need to be replaced regularly.
They will never be as precise as the original.
This is by no means a funeral bell for yourself.
Copy the machine, Bao said.
Every creature can be seen as a self.
Copying machines that rely heavily on components and the help of others, he said, so why is the machine different?
Plants, mosquitoes and viruses are considered their own.
However, to achieve this goal, it is heavily dependent on other species.
It would be rude to expect any difference from the replicant.