[extropy-chat] Re: Self replication again (was MARS: ...

Mike Lorrey mlorrey at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 20 16:55:33 UTC 2004

--- Chris Phoenix <cphoenix at CRNano.org> wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:> 
> Whoa.  Basic misconception here.  MNT is not about chipping away at a
> chunk of diamond to leave a shape.  It is about building a shape of 
> diamond bit by bit from individual dimers (or whatever). The
> deposition "tools" are not tools in the machine-tool sense.
> They're closer to a hot-melt glue gun or an arc welding tip
> than to anything with a cutting edge.

Sorry, you were talking about making monolithic diamond and comparing
that to making nanites, implying that one started with a hunk of
diamond and chipped away at it. So we are a back to my original
argument about building parts and assemblies an atom or molecule at a

> Given that, I think you haven't challenged my assertion that if you
> can 
> build diamond by MNT deposition, you can build programmable complex 
> diamond parts simply by changing the sequence of depositions.

It is relatively easy to make a machine that is dumb like a beer bottle
packer or orange stacker. Each atom, one after the other, without any
real thought to counting x many atoms then x many spaces, etc.

Slightly more complex is making one machine that can make one part over
and over and over again.

It is entirely different to have a machine that is tied to a computer
database to not just tell it how to make one part, but every part that
the machine itself is made of, the computer itself, and the end product
the controller wants built is made of.

> (By the way, I've been told by someone who knows how to machine tool 
> steel that you can in fact use steel to cut steel, then use the part 
> you've just cut to cut more steel, and rapidly build a very complex 
> operation/part from very simple shapes.  Apparently you don't even
> have 
> to mess with tempering and annealing the metal: it just behaves very 
> differently under compression than under tension.  So your
> chicken-egg 
> problem doesn't hold for that material.  But that's just a side note,
> because MNT is not about top-down or subtractive machining at all.)

No, the chicken-egg problem is still there, because you are talking
about working with diamond. You need diamond machines to work diamond
parts, IF you are doing machining. 

If we are doing the glue-gun thing, that may be a different story, but
I have serious questions about how easy it is to just assemble diamond
molecules at normal pressures. Admittedly I don't know much about this,
but it seems to me that something that requires a humongous press to
produce even artificial diamond at massive pressures and temps (and
can't actually replicate natural diamond) would cause significant
difficulties for you if your machine is trying to put diamond molecules
together at normal pressures and temps.

We may need a diamond machine to get the strength we need to push these
molecules together.

Mike Lorrey
Chairman, Free Town Land Development
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
                                       - Gen. John Stark
Sado-Mikeyism: http://mikeysoft.zblogger.com

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