RepRap is much more than just an open hardware project: it is a *recursive* open hardware project, (almost) capable of producing itself. That clearly places it in a different class from other systems, because it opens up the possibility of spawning huge numbers of these machines, independently of current manufacturing structures – just as GNU/Linux provides a free software framework for producing yet more free software. In truth, RepRap is not yet completely self-replicating, but there are moves afoot to achieve this. For example, the Foresight Institute, whose mission is “to ensure the beneficial implementation of nanotechnology”, is offering a Personal Manufacturing Prize to help bring this abou
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Even better than being “self-replicating”, in my opinion, it is a well-developed open-source hardware project that lays a framework for other applications. The stepper drivers and source code are a great introduction to open-loop positioning systems.
Very interesting. Soon, corporations will be using this technology to help transform the surface of the moon into Earth’s bitch.