The Inside Track Lecture - Manufacturing for the Masses

26 November 2015, 1.00 PM - 26 November 2015, 2.00 PM

Dr Adrian Bowyer, Director, RepRapPro Ltd

1.15 Queens Building, University Walk, Bristol, City of Bristol BS8 1TR

The Inside Track series continues in week nine with the lecture 'Manufacturing for the Masses' delivered by Dr Adrian Bowyer, Director of RepRapPro Ltd:

3D printing is about thirty years old. It has three key characteristics: it is very slow, it is very easy to use, and - now that all the patents on it are expiring - it is also becoming very low cost. These characteristics are the fundamental ones needed for a distributed technology: a technology that it makes more sense for individuals and small groups to own than to gather together in big economies-of-scale factories.

The RepRap Project is the main reason for the falling costs of 3D printing. But it was not primarily established as a 3D-printing project. It was established to make a useful self-replicating machine. 3D printing was merely the most appropriate technology to use for self-replication.

After the fundamental forces of physics, self-replication is the most powerful phenomenon in the Universe. It has transformed this entire planet, which has consequently been knee-deep in self-replicating machines for the last three and a half billion years. (Indeed, your very knees are made out of self-replicating machines.) Driven by the inexorable operation of Darwin's Law, self-replication is also the most efficient method of production that we know.

This talk will be about the introduction of open-source self-replicating 3D printers as a primary means of engineering production, and the possible social and economic consequences of that in the distribution of production away from centralised facilities owned by the few towards mass ownership by small groups and by individuals.

Refreshments will be available afterwards - all welcome.

The Inside Track Lecture series is aimed primarily at students - speakers from a range of industries will share their inside knowledge. All lectures will be followed by a Question & Answer session, a chance to meet the speaker(s) over drinks and a related LinkedIn discussion.

* The Inside Track lectures are open to all University of Bristol students and staff, but if you are from outside the University and would like to attend, please email *

Contact information

For more information please contact the Industrial Liaison Office on or 0117 95 45483.

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