Fabricators: The Factories of Tomorrow

And when I say tomorrow, I mean it.

Fabricators are not entirely ubiquitous in the Steel Beneath the Skin world, but they are fairly common. These are devices able to manufacture just about anything, quickly and efficiently, using a basic set of component feedstocks rather than building from parts. Aneka uses the fabricators on the Garnet Hyde to make clothes, devices, weapons, just about anything you care to name. All that is required is a pattern and a supply of materials. The patterns used for this equipment use a form of digital rights management to control manufacturing; you don’t get to use a pattern without paying for it, though many public domain patterns exist.

But fabricators are future technology. You can’t just get some gadget to print up whatever you want from a structural diagram, can you? Well, yes. 3D Printing technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous in today’s world. Today I saw this article on the BBC web site. NASA have successfully tested a rocket engine component made on a 3D printer. What’s more, the complex component took significantly less time and money to produce this way than with traditional manufacturing techniques.

Fabricators, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting pretty close.

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2 responses to “Fabricators: The Factories of Tomorrow

  1. Loves the book hoping for more either this series of thaumatology series
    As for 3d printing i love that too…
    Seriously planning on investing in a dual extruder Mbot device.
    Chinese copy of makerbot (its open source… gotta love open source hardware)

    with the next free update to windows 8 win 8.1 3d printing will be natively supported so it’s an ideal time to get into the hobby as there are some pretty cheap devices now…
    (Well ok they cost a pile of money but it’s not a huge pile of money)

    As for those fabricators i think the limiting factors so far is that while there are conductive plastics and you theoretically could print circuits you still need to add high density circuitry…

    I mean you can’t really print down on the nano meters scale…

    Home printers are at 200 to 100 microns resolution at best so far
    100 microns = 100 000 nanometers.

    The latest processors are down at 40nm scale now… so that 1000 times smaller..
    So you won’t be printing a xbox anytime soon…
    But well who knows it might be possible to print a working Nintendo 8bit some time in the future…. maybe with conductive plastics and such…
    (There is also some experimentation being done in paper printable circuitry as well worth mentioning)

    You could definitely print the case today… and the controller and probably find working pcb kits online for it…
    I do believe makershed has a 8bit computer kit you can modify to use Nintendo cartridges.
    And there other electronics kits that come matched with 3d print cases..

    Also if you ever dreamt of making a robot the track assembly is easy to print and all you need are 2 pretty cheat servos… add to that a arduino you can connect to a andrid phone and a motor controller shield and a bunch of code and you can have your very own cute little mobile phone robot 🙂

    Hell you could probably use if for telepresence purposes.. Just imagine the travel expenses saves….

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