A general purpose robot that would be able to do many tasks. A general purpose constructor that would be able to do assembly as well as just making a object or part. It would be able to move around freely in the XYZ and would be able to move and assemble parts as well as do processes like 3d printing, light duty cnc and many others. The goal is to make as self replicating as possible. Depending on how you calculate it if the original reprap was 30% self replicating this one should be close to 80%. And it should be able to build as many systems as is possible, not just parts but whole systems and manage them as well.
One of the problems with current reprap machines is that they require external labor for reproduction. While this might have worked in the short run in the long this is unsustainable. Let's take a example the voron 3d printer which is a popular opensource 3d printer. When we talk about self replication we are going to need to have a figure of merit to calculate whether a machine is more self replicating then another. We can do this by asking, what percentage of the machine is self replicating? this would be a figure of merit. We can calculate the percentage in 3 ways.
- by Weight
- by Volume
- or by value
It only makes sense to calculate the percentage by value because the other categories don't really tell you all that much at all. For example if I have a 3d printer that is less efficiently build and hence uses larger and heavier 3d printed parts it is arguably a worse machine and not a more self replicating machine. As matter of fact if we calculate self replication by weight or by volume a easy way to game the system would be to just print a bunch of useless plastic parts and attach them to the machine and claim that the percentage of the machine that is printable has increased, while the parts themselves don't add any value at all. Hence the proper way to calculate the figure of merit of the percentage of the machine that is self replicating is by value. In this manner most machines don't get above 30% Let's take the voron 3d printer as a example, the parts can cost up to 800$ and there are about 200$ of 3d printed parts in there as well. So that seems like the machine is 20% self replicating which is not bad. But if you try to buy a assembled voron online you will notice that it actually costs closer to 1600 to 2000$ this is because of the labor to assemble the machine. Which is a very important input (about 40 hours x 20$ per hour = 800$) It also becomes obvious then that if we calculated the figure of merit of the percentage of the machine that is self replicating by value and that a large percentage of the value that goes into most end products is labor. then if we could make a general purpose opensource assembly robot that is as capable of self replication as possible, then we could increase the figure of merit of said self replicating robot considerably. In the above numbers for the voron, we could go from 20% easily up to 50% Ultimately numbers as high as 80% should become achievable.