Today we’re on the verge of a factory in every home thanks to the RepRap, an open hardware 3D printer that is designed to replicate itself. You can make a RepRap for yourself, then use it to make one for your neighbor. The design files and software needed to build and operate the RepRap are free. You can make one for about $500 in parts. And with each new version of the machine, an increasing percentage of the parts can be produced by the RepRap itself.
Future astronauts might end up living in a moon base created largely from lunar dust and regolith, if a giant 3-D printing device can work on the lunar surface.
The print-on-demand technology, known as D-Shape, could save on launch and transportation costs for manned missions to the moon. But the concept must first prove itself in exploratory tests funded by the European Space Agency (ESA)
“A nanofactory is a proposed system in which nanomachines (resembling molecular assemblers, or industrial robot arms) would combine molecules to build larger atomically precise parts.”
from Next Big Future: <- [Much more at link]
[...] The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix.
Invetech plan to ship a number of 3D bio-printers to Organovo during 2010 and 2011 as a part of the instrument development program. Organovo will be placing the printers globally with researchers in centers of excellence for medical research.
from h+ Magazine:
You will likely soon be able to download hardware from the web in the form of free packages of coded instructions to make… well, just about anything — from a Lego block to the jet engine of an F-16.
The impetus behind downloading DIY hardware from the web is to leverage hackerspaces (those collaborative dens of real world hacking), fab labs (fabrication laboratories), and other groups around the world to shift the burden away from “makers” (manufacturers) to a core group of package maintainers who verify hardware designs and make it easy for makers to do what they love best — making things.