A self-replicating machine child is born

A few days ago (May 29) was a momentous day for the open source tech movement — the RepRap open source 3-D printer made its first copy of itself.

What is RepRap?

Printers are a common everyday machine. They use ink and technology to make things in 2 dimensions. Imagine if instead of printing on bits of paper, you had a printer that works in 3 dimensions. You would have to use a solid ink, but you would be able to print real, robust, mechanical parts. To give you an idea of how robust these parts could be think of Lego bricks and you’re in the right ballpark. You could make lots of useful stuff. Interestingly, you could also make most of the parts to make another 3D printer, but not all of them. That would be a machine which could make itself.

The plans are free, so you can build your own, make copies, and give them to your friends. And it’s all open source, so you can share and improve upon the design.