Accelerating RepRappery


“The experimental four-dimensional GCode interpreter is now five-dimensional. Four dimensions are so three weeks ago… It has an extra DDA variable that is the feedrate. ” –

Cool. I have no idea what that means*.

I think it’s incredibly interesting how this is being developed COMPLETELY in public. I first came across repraps on the 23rd of March 2008 – just over a year ago – and I remember it well (ish) because I’m one of a massive segment of humanity, who now keeps public diaries (although mine was at least semi-fictional)

Has it come a long way since then?

Yes and no. The original video (from 2007) talked about it as an academic research project with a 3% chance of “success”… I think progress towards being able to create all its own parts has been fairly slow – but as an idea, it has exploded – it’s famous, and it’s gone from being an academic project to something that now probably can’t (or at least won’t) be stopped. It’s taken on a life of its own – and not always in the ways that the core team had planned – but that is the nature of the beast. It’s a success. Arrrgggh.

So that’s the benefit of its development being entirely public I suppose – although the physical replicator is still finding its feet (and it will be years before it does I think), a higher-order replicator: the reprap meme, is growing and dynamic, and providing the energy that is needed to create the physical object.

I think there’s possibly some natty little formula (which probably doesn’t work) in there somewhere: “In the Attention Economy the interest generated by the ongoing Making-Of story, can sometimes provide the energy needed for the creation of the final object”.

Transparency of Process can be a powerful creative catalyst – even though it’s a diametric opposite of 20thC business intuition.

When I worked in the City in London in the 90s, much was made of the notion of “management of expectations” – and secrecy was the norm. The power of Transparency of Process on the other hand (if it’s well done), is to do with “management of surprises” – and openness is the norm. I’m not sure that one’s any easier than the other to be honest… it’s just that you get more energy from the latter.

* actually, I do know what that means. Kindof. I think.