Our Thingsmith interviews spotlight the designer/makers that are playing an important role in the 3D printing revolution. In this series we hope to explore what motivates and inspires some of our favorite Thingsmiths.
Dr Adrian Bowyer needs little introduction. As the creator of the RepRap project he is considered the ‘Godfather’ of fabbing. His academic research at the intersection of biology and engineering led him to the idea of an open-source, self-replicating, 3D printer. Since its advent in 2005, the RepRap project has had phenomenal growth, gained international recognition and been heralded as the invention that will start the second industrial revolution. Adrian is currently a senior lecturer in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Bath and a director of RepRap Ltd.
1. Tell us about the creation you are most proud of and what inspired it?
It’s going to have to be RepRap. It was inspired by the mutualist symbiosis between the flowers and insects. To see me rabbiting on about this nonsense look at this video for example.
2. When you embark on a new project, what’s your approach and what are your favorite tools?
My approach is to sit and stare at the ceiling, and my favourite tools are a pencil and piece of paper.
3. There’s an amazing community of makers out there; who’s work has recently impressed you?
I would not say, as I make it a principle not to comment publically on what other makers do. Because I created RepRap my comments would carry far more weight than they are worth. (Though I was very proud when my daughter Sally finished building her first RepRap machine the other day.)
4. Gazing into the future, what’s the next amazing project we should look out for?
I think the widespread uptake of home genetic engineering. Incredibly powerful, incredibly interesting, and maybe incredibly dangerous. [ed. Checkout BioCurious and this Economist article for starters].
5. Finally, at Faberdashery Towers we are fuelled by Tea, Earl Grey, Hot. What’s your tinkering tipple of choice?
Photo credit: Adrian Bowyer.