I have been fascinated by the idea of the self-replicating 3D printer ever since I discovered RepRap, and I have applauded all the work that is being done to redesign RepRap printers so that more and more parts can be printed.
But, listening to whispers, I get the feeling that 3D printer kits that have big slab sides (MakerBot, Ultimaker, Orca V3) are more stable, and capable of faster printing speeds and high degrees of accuracy. But you can’t 3D print slab sides. You need to laser cut them, and that confounds the philosophy of self-replication.
So I have been playing with the idea of the “Self-Replicating Workshop”. Let’s print some plastic parts for the laser cutter that we build for ourselves, and laser cut some slab sides for our 3D printer. Why not? Just extend the philosophy of self-replication.
And there’s another thing. I love the idea of Fab Labs, Makerspaces and Hackerspaces, and I especially like the communal feeling as people get together to engage less in DIY and more in DIT (Do It Together). Except that they mostly don’t make their own machines!
Look at these “equipment pages” from a number of groups: