[FoRK] short-term predictions: 2014, 2017, 2022

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Jun 14 02:32:40 PDT 2012

On Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 04:31:17AM -0400, Damien Morton wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 14, 2012 at 2:30 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 04:40:00PM -0400, Damien Morton wrote:
> >
> > > I agree, the promise of 3d printing is, umm, overpromised.
> > >
> > > How do you 3d print a microwave oven? How do you 3d print an electric
> > > motor? How do you 3d print a bearing assembly?
> >
> > One layer at a time ;)
> >
> > Don't forget that rapid prototyping today is only the camel's
> > nose first appearing in the tent. Eventually, the whole
> > molecular manufacturing animal is to follow.
> >
> Hmm, maybe in scifi novels. 

If you roll back 200 years, everything you now see around you is science fiction.
We've managed to move a lot of things from the realm of science fiction
to science fact in the mere 45 years I've been around.

> Next 20 years, rapid prototyping will be

I don't recall having mentioned a particular time frame. I actually
agree that in 20 years we should be able to progress to build fully
functional macrosacle devices capable of walking off the staging area, 
but that's about it.

> mechanistic - a 3d counterpart to laser and inkjet printing. We dont have

Why, a ~um voxel depositor capable to integrate sensors, actuators, logic
and power into an extruded block is exactly that.

> 2d molecular assemblers today, so its pie in the sky to imagine them for

You don't need to be able to specify 300 nm flat surfaces down to ~0.1 pm
in order to build useful objects. ~um at up to ~mm to ~cm total deposited layer
across A4 to A3 surface would do plenty.

> tomorrow.

We can do atomic-scale manipulation of some ~100 species in 2d, but it's
not scalable.

> >
> > > I see 3d printing as a great counterpart to the incredible custom
> > > manufacturing facilities of misumi.com , which has those robots Kragen
> > > speaks about, and will deliver specialised materials and assemblies.
> >
> > What the world needs is a good desktop manufacturing system which
> > can make about everything. Copies of itself included. Using
> > abundant and inexpensive raw materials.
> >
> It would be good if you could put your garbage in MrFusion, add a little
> toilet water, and out pops a diamond, but.... its the stuff of scifi.

I could build you that today, if you can find small diamond wafers acceptable.

However, this is not what we at all need.

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