Adrian Bowyer, from the University of Bath, visited us today at dev8D to demonstrate RepRap. RepRap is a 3D printer that uses plastic as raw material (the ink, or toner, if you will) to produce three-dimensional objects.
Aside from the pure geek-appeal of a self-replicating, 3D printer that accepts designs from Art of Illusion or Blender, is the amazing potential of RepRap to change the world as we know it. That sounds a little breathless and it’s certainly not entirely true: RepRap can’t fully replicate itself, yet (currently, just better than 50%). But ask yourself what might happen if everyone had a fabrication plant at home. At a cost of only £300 in materials to produce, RepRap could make manufacturing accessible to even some of the poorest communities. What happens to the sales of entire classes of goods and manufacturing if you, as Google’s Chris DiBona observed, have “China on your desktop”?