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Realisation of self-replicating production resources through tight coupling of manufacturing technologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
Number of pages10
DatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED
ISSN (Print)2220-4334


The purpose of this paper is to explore the implications of the tight coupling of manufacturing technologies and the extent to which it can facilitate the realisation of self-replicating production resources. This was explored through a three year programme of development projects where multiple 3D printing and milling machines were designed, built and evaluated with respect to their manufacturing capabilities and self-replicability. It was found that this tight coupling of processes increased functionality, self-replicability and consequentially utility of these machines. The project specifications were used to identify conflicting requirements and qualitatively assess their interrelationships. Further work will see this expanded into a quantitative model to identify where design effort should be focused and also theoretical limits of self-replicability. The principal social implication of this work is that nonautotrophic self-replication, upon which the RepRap philosophy is based, is largely dependent upon locally available technology and resources. Self-replication therefore becomes an affordance of not solely machine but also of environment.

    Research areas

  • 3D printing, Case study, Open source design


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