June 06, 2008

Seeds of a new manufacturing revolution

A transformation in the pace of economic growth can be achieved even without nanofactories. These pre-nanofactory methods would transition well to a world with nanofactories when they do arrive.

A coordinated effort by research, companies and government could be made to plan and develop Rapid Automated Manufacturing by 2030. There could be an increase in economic growth into the 10-20% per year range even for developed countries like the USA. Technology roadmaps and planning would be needed to perfect materials, supply chains, real time monitoring, approval processes and deployment of the technologies and methods listed below, the world could transition to radically faster economic growth. It would take a lot of work to get everything coordinated to have this effort scale and transform each of the industries in order for nationwide growth rate to move a bunch. It would be exactly like the societal transformation to mass production and industrialization back in the early 1900s. Education, Industry and government and society would all have to adapt. The carrot is after you do it in a few decades your nation is a hundred times richer than it would have been if it had not been done.

Contour crafting (scaling up inkjet/rapid prototyping up to making buildings) Use cement as the ink. Layer by layer additive construction. 200 times
faster than conventional methods. 5 times lower cost for construction. It can use insitu (dirt and water that is already on site) materials. Adding a step for applying spray on solar power would also be an evolutionary improvement. (It would also be safer than having workers install rooftop solar panels.)

Print private houses first, then multi-story buildings and then bridges, roads and everything else.

Inflatable electric cars. Flatship cars from a factory like Ikea furniture and could be as cheap as $2500 for an environmentally friendly car.

GE OLEDs produced roll to roll

Reel to reel production of electronics can be hundreds to thousands of times faster than current lithography factories for making computers and factories for making electronics, televisions, video monitors.

Printing presses can get up to speeds of 2500-3000 feet per minute.

Reprap is an inexpensive fabrication system that can now self-replicate. The machine can make another copy of itself and construct other devices.

Fabbers and scanners now

Rapid manufacturing now

Lunar dust + epoxy + carbon nanotubes = lunar cement
Note: only water is whatever is in the epoxy. New materials can help enable wider use of rapid automated manufacturing.

Singularity lite - accelerated technology development for achieving increased levels of economic growth

Intermediate systems from now to nanofactories

Desktop Factory says per-cubic-inch printing costs will hover somewhere around $1. The Desktop Factory 3D printer builds robust, composite plastic parts that can be sanded and painted when desired. Their goal by 2011 is to have their 3D printer below $1000.

Predictions for 2016

Rapid prototyping at wikipedia

MEMS robot precursors to nanobots

Rapid manufacturing at wikipedia


Brock said...

That kind of manufacturing would need equal advancements in cradle-to-cradle recycling. You think we have a landfill problem now?

Don Meaker said...

Actually, no it wouldn't.

Concrete buildings are nearly permanent. If you don't believe that, check the Roman Colliseum, still going strong after 1900 years. Hardly any wood buildings last more than 200 years.

Lower cost to build means that we won't have to tear down fairly new buildings to revamp a neighborhood. Rather, it will be cheaper to build an entirely new community, and the older buildings in older neighborhoods can be traded in, like older cars in older styles are traded at present. People who don't care so much about the newest style can get a very nice house for minimal money.

Less turn over in buildings leads to less turn over in furnishings, plumbing. Rather than using the cheapest steel-galvanized piping, because the house will wear out as soon as the pluming, a few dollars more can use nearly permanent copper plumbing.

Concrete buildings are also safer, providing greater resistance to burgulary, drive by shootings, or even accidental ramming by a car. WWII pillboxes had only 4 inches of concrete to protect from 75mm cannons.

GnomeKing said...

What's to landfill? Concrete is almost 100% recyclable. they cruh, heat, and seperate it into cement, rock, sand.

your old house can provide materials for the new one!

General Fabb said...

Whether this will happen or not, it seems to be going that way, as many organizations are actively developing fabrication technology - and it's a lot farther along than you might think!

If you're interested in following the news on 3D Printing and digital fabrication, you might consider reading our blog at Fabbaloo or