Self-reproducing machine shop requirements

Could you have a machine shop with every tool needed to build every machine tool in that shop? What would be required? Let’s take as given that the steel and other metals you need are available in stock form from the mill, and that you have the skilled labor necessary.

Does it make a difference what level of sophistication we’re talking about? On one end of the spectrum, a blacksmith could in theory build his own forge and make his own tools (making an anvil from scratch would be a bitch, but it could be done). On the other end of the spectrum, being able to build anything would require pretty near the entire industrial infrastructure of the developed world.

Define “machine shop”. Does a blacksmith count? Do the collected factories of the world count? Does a strand of DNA count?

Clanking Replicators
Self Replication

Uh, yeah. It depends on where we draw the metaphorical boxes around these things. A “tree factory” (forest) grows trees; no outside intervention required. As trees become obsolete (die, fall over), they decompose and become input (nutrients) for further production. Well, takes an outside energy source (sunlight) and outside materials (air and water).

The simplest human-driven example might be “rock quarry” where it conceivably might be possible to use some rocks to fashion tools to extract other rocks. Or maybe the simplest example would be “pottery.” A pottery next to a forest, maybe.

I think the question defies a good answer.

Of course, someone could come along with a better answer while any of us are composing a reply… :smack:

Huh?, an anvil is not compicated at all, you make a clay mold and pour the molten metal on it; it doesn´t take a rocket scientist.

As for what you´re asking, it depends on what kins of tools you´re thinking off, I mean, if you start to add electric tools things get tricky, an electric motor is not very complicated, but a electronic circuit can be daunting to build from scratch.

Depends on what you’ll accept for your raw materials. Are you going to be making your own bearings and electric motors? Refining your own oil for lubrication? Heat treating and coating materials to make your own drills and other tooling?

It’s not hard to set up a machine shop that can build other machine shops if your raw materials include anything that can be bought at an industrial supply store - including such finished goods as motors, bearings, and oil. The more primitive the supplies you have to work with, the harder your job becomes and the more complex your shop.

You’d need a really good screw cutting late. Plus some tunes. Self replicating 'bots gotta have tunes.

It’s preposterous to suggest that there couldn’t be an assemblage of machinery that would be able to manufacture every one of its own components - it’s been done already! (or else where did you suppose it all came from?)

A lathe and a mill are just about the necessary and sufficient machines to manufacture just about any machine in the shop.
The second generation can be more precise that the first and the third moreso that the second. Else how could industry arrive at as high a state of precision as it has?

This publisher has a seven-book series on building your own machine shop from scratch.

Oooohh, plans for a homebuilt milling machine! :cool:

Homemade EDM? Homemade plasma cutter, waterjet cutter? Homemade abrasive wheels?

Homebuilt EDM plans.