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RepRap: Open Source Meets Hardware

Readers of The Diamond Age and viewers of Star Trek: The Next Generation are familiar with the idea of replicators. Indeed, architects and product designers have been working them into their design and rapid prototyping processes already, yet the home market is still nascent.

A big step in making replicators as ubiquitous as personal computers was taken by tinkerers Adrian Bowyer and Vik Olliver when they built the RepRap, a rapid-prototyper capable of replicating itself.

A particularly great feature of their work is the licensing model they have chosen: open source. Their stated goal is “to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about €500). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. Following the principles of the Free Software Movement we are distributing the RepRap machine at no cost to everyone under the GNU General Public Licence. So, if you have a RepRap machine, you can make another and give it to a friend…”

This is going to be extraordinary!

RepRap connected to an Ubuntu Linux machine.

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