“A China on Your Desktop” – Open Source Manufacturing

The RepRap

Open source technology has changed the world. The results of OST can be seen in programs we use everyday – Firefox, bitTorrents, WordPress, etc. Leading programs are looking towards the masses for better, more adaptable solutions. But what happens when open source technology leaves the digital world and becomes physical?

That’s what researchers University of Bath are looking at. Lead by Adrian Bowyer, the team has created RepRap: an open source machine that is capable of creating (at least in part) a copy of itself.
You may have heard of three dimensional printers before. They print an object layer upon layer so that the final product has shape and form. These printers usually cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy. RepRap is trying to change all that.
Lets say your friend had a RepRap. They could download open source designs to create anything: coat hangers, doors, desks, whatever you could dream up. These might be made in small pieces that you have to assemble, but almost anything is doable. Great, your friend has his own little factory, but how does that help you?
What if your friend could program RepRap to make a copy of itself? Then you can have your own little factory on your desktop, to create whatever you need or more RepRaps for your friends.

Check out this awesome video below and RepRap’s homepage! Dr. Bowyer even exemplifies integrative thinking!

RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.

Related Topics


Geoff is a 5th year student who studying a double major in Integrated Science (Evolutionary ecology, virology) and Political Science. He was the 'Wish' speaker at the 2008 Terry Talks and is passionate about university education, especially when it comes to interdisciplinary experiences. After graduation Geoff wants to find a job that allows him to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds and share stories. If your savvy enough you can follow Geoff on Twitter - user: gcosteloe.