Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Adrian Bowyer

Adrian Bowyer

Mechanical engineer, inventor (RepRap)

Posted in engineer, linux

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Adrian Bowyer, and I invented RepRap - humanity's first practical and useful self-replicating machine. RepRap is entirely open-source and free.

I used to be an academic at the University of Bath in the UK, where I spent time pretending to be a mathematician, a computer scientist, a chemical engineer and a biologist rather than being what I really was, which was a mechanical engineer in the Engineering Department.

I spent most of my time researching computational geometry, both for its own sake, and for application in engineering CAD systems. I am one of the authors of the Bowyer-Watson algorithm for Voronoi diagrams, I have devised a new class of fractals, and have written a number of papers on the use of implicit geometry in CAD systems.

What hardware do you use?

I have 12 RepRap 3D printers at the current count.

I also have a workshop with a lathe, a 3-axis mill, an arc welder, soft-tooling for casting, surface-mount soldering, electronics test equipment, microscopes, glass-blowing equipment, and a chemistry/biochemistry laboratory.

I intend shortly to get a small CNC mill and a laser-cutter.

I have a house and a laboratory full of PCs of various ages and states of decrepitude. But day-to-day I use a Zoostorm Desktop PC, with an Intel Pentium DC G860 3GHz, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB HDD with two 1920 x 1080 displays.

And what software?

All the computers I have run Ubuntu Linux, currently version 12.04.

Running along the launch bar: I use the Eclipse Java development environment, Firefox, Thunderbird e-mail with OpenPGP, Arduino Version, the OpenSCAD 3D CAD system, the Gimp image editor, Skype, LibreCAD 2D CAD, Pronterface 3D printer driver, Eagle and KiCAD electronics design software, RepRapPro's version of the Java RepRapo host software, Inkscape, and Gedit

All that software is free, and (except for Eagle and Skype) it is all open-source.

I spend most of my time doing mechanical and electronic design for RepRap and writing software for it. The above list pretty much give the toolkit I use for that purpose.

What would be your dream setup?

All the above running 30-times faster in a much bigger set of rooms :-)