RepRap from Adrian Bowyer on Vimeo.
I thought that this might be useful over time. I played with it and did what I could.
But in the end, I just realized that the pieces that it made were just plastic crap. Granted, it was plastic crap that I made. But it was still plastic crap.
Plastic is odd stuff. There are uses where it does turn out to be as good as other materials, but I don't think for a minute that it is "best" in the great majority of applications. What plastic does do is allow mass market economics to work, and that is where the whole idea is beginning to fall apart.
Now these things are beginning to hit the marker at consumer prices. They are also being touted as "wave of the future" and "gamechanger". I'm afraid I can't see it. The ability to make useful things out of thermoplastic material at these temperatures is limited to pretty useless, non-robust gee-gaws.
One of the things that I am trying is purging all the plastic I can out of my life. Don't get me wrong, I will never be able to get rid of some of it. The black dingus that I am beating on to make this screed come out isn't going to be made of wood anytime soon. There are also things that won't break to soon, and I sure aren't going to throw stuff away while they are completely functional in order to replace them.
Maybe one or two of these things will be handy to have around a small city to make the little replacement things that folks will need to keep things operational. They will probably be in the machine shops/repair facilities that will be popping up in the future to keep the current stock running.
But as a mass market thing, I really can't see these things living up to the hype that everyone seems to want to attach to them.