More reprapping futures, including Burma

Geoff Manaugh (as well as Worldchanging and basically everyone else in that line) has a post on a project at the RSA to think about the architectural consequences of RepRaps and other forms of decentralised industry. Like a lot of Manaugh’s stuff, it’s interesting…but it breaks off before confronting some of the more concrete impacts. What happens when the circus leaves town? Isn’t part of the point of this whole project to render the economy less dependent on the macroenvironment of capital investment?

(This is a great idea, though.)

Also, arms control in the age of self contained CNC machines; Geoff Fordan from Armscontrolwonk finds out what’s inside a big shed in central Burma. In fact, it’s a collection of the latest computerised machine tools, but not organised into a production line of any known type, or even a Canon-like system where the robots serve the workers.

Are they planning to reverse engineer missile or nuclear technology? Of course, they could be planning for industrialisation; but who builds a CNC shop in the middle of a jungle, far from where anyone lives who might work there, or anyone who might buy its products?


  1. Internetty-geeky type people always get excited about CNC machines, because it’s Fabricating! With! Robots!

    Realistically though, you can do almost anything with a 2nd-hand 30-year-old collection of machine tools and an operator who knows their trade (yeah, a trade, how retro and unWeb-2.0 is that?) that you can do with a CNC workshop. Possibly a bit slower, but most of the AK47s in the world were made that way. What would making them with a CNC machine get you?

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