Currently, rapid prototype machines exist which allow people to produce vehicle parts, plastic components and computer designs in their own homes. The machines, however, cost tens of thousands of dollars. Adrian Bowyer is working to change this.

The University of Bath professor says: "People have been talking for years about the cost of these machines dropping to be about the same as a computer printer. But it hasn't happened. Maybe my idea will allow this to occur."

Bowyer aims to get the rapid prototype machines to replicate themselves to the point that they become cheap enough for people to purchase. He is working on 3D models that existing machine owners can find on his web site and use to make the copies.