[-empyre-] creating environmental conditions / creating teleological perspectives

Adrian Bowyer A.Bowyer at bath.ac.uk
Tue Apr 6 01:38:51 EST 2010

Adrian Freed wrote:

>> and to modify), RepRap makes 50% of its own parts.
> How you are counting this? Volume, proportion of mechanical parts,
> proportion of total  number of parts, number of compounds, number
> of elements? By any measure I can think of the machine makes a
> small fraction of what is needed to make another machine -
> especially considering  the electronics and metal rods. Fractions
> of the collective energies of hundreds of thousands of people are
> required in the electronic components, motor and plastics
> manufacturing industries for the rest. For me the
> "self-replication" aspect is an interesting dream worth thinking
> about and perhaps striving towards (as reflected in the various
> challenges). This doesn't detract at all from the considerable
> contributions to low cost 3D printing represented by the work
> around reprap.

I'm counting them by counting them.  It's numbers, not volume, mass, 
or whatever.

RepRap (like every other replicator on Earth) lives in a sea of 
replicators that it exploits (again, like every other replicator on 

As Samuel Butler observed:  "Does any one say that the red clover has 
no reproductive system because the humble bee (and the humble bee 
only) must aid and abet it before it can reproduce?  No one. The 
humble bee is a part of the reproductive system of the clover."

People are part of the reproductive system of RepRap.  I deliberately 
designed it that way to put it at a mutualist evolutionarily-stable 
Nash equilibrium, just as the flowers (RepRap) and the insects 
(people) are; the nectar in the relationship is the goods RepRap makes.

The machinery of life is proteins.  We can make 60% of our proteins 
(compared to RepRap's 50% of itself).  For the rest we rely (directly 
or indirectly) on plants, just as RepRap relies on people.  The 
kit-parts that plants make and that people exploit to build themselves 
are much more complicated than the human-engineered parts that RepRap 

Best wishes


Dr Adrian Bowyer

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