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Release status: unknown

building a self-replicating Fab Lab.
CAD Models
External Link


The RepLab Project will make and document all of the fabrication machines in a Fab Lab. This will be similar to and extend RepRap. Like RepRap, the machines will be mostly self-replicating.

The term "RepLab" was coined by Erik de Bruijn [1] and Marcin Jakubowski who first proposed open source FabLabs in a blog post:

" Many of you may have heard of the MIT Fab Lab – a mini factory where you can make just about anything. If you have $100k to spend, you can get one for your home.

What if we reduce the price of this toolset by a factor of 10? While we are at it, why not add about five times the functionality in that price? That is exactly what we plan on doing: RepLab – the open source Fab Lab.

Sounds unreal? Yes, prior to the internet age. Now we have open source development – and the price of hardware is dropping drastically. My favourite example is RepRap, the 3D printer – which you can build for $300 in parts – because the plans are available for free. A commercial version would cost you about $20k - or over 60 times more.

So how do we go about achieving this unimaginable feat?


That’s what you and I will figure out. "

It's ok if each and every individual machine can't make *any* of its own parts, as long as the collection of machines as a whole are collectively mostly self-replicating -- what MattMoses calls "Cyclic Fabrication Systems".

Equipment and Projects

Perhaps even:


RepLab Working Group

Forum/Mailing List

There is a functional Google Group with some traffic:

Primary Considerations

Economic Model (Quick, to the Spreadsheet!)

  • How much does the machine cost to make?
  • What is the existing market for these machines? What machines are selling, and are they any good?
  • How much does this machine cost in the marketplace to buy? (Including a service contract).
  • How much does the machine cost to run? (Including 'machine operator' time).
  • What's the 'mental overhead' that the user/builder encounters by building your machine, rather than buying a machine with a known trackrecord from a salesperson and getting a service contract?
  • What's the worth of the parts the machine is making?
  • What are the opportunity costs you and the machine encounter by "making fasteners" rather than more specialized, higher worth components or objects? Like the spindle for a CNC mill, toys for your children, or a prosthetic leg.
  • Is it fun?
  • Visit a production workshop using one of these machines. What is their economic model?
  • Visit/websurf a hobby/cottage industry/academic technical workshop that uses one of these machines? What is their economic model?
  • If you build or buy a huge machine, does it take over your workshop and lifestyle?

Examples: 10'x18' CNC Router, Bronze Foundry (for art bronze), Aluminum Foundry.


What is feasible to build? When do you want to buy rather than make?

Further reading