Pants-pockets gemstone-gum factory

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This article defines a novel term (that is hopefully sensibly chosen). The term is introduced to make a concept more concrete and understand its interrelationship with other topics related to atomically precise manufacturing. For details go to the page: Neologism.

This article is a stub. It needs to be expanded.

Atomically precise small scale factories or gem gum factories for short are the main topic of this wiki.
A survey of alternative names that where used or are newly proposed can be found >>here<<.

What it is and what it does

A personal desktop gem-gum factory that is in the process of extruding out some product. (Screencap collage of from concept video "Productive nanosystems")

The personal gem gum factory is:

  • Your personal device that can push out virtually every thing* of your daily use. (* at least every inedible thing)

The personal gem gum factory makes:

  • Your products that are as cheap as the abundant mining-free raw materials that it processes.
  • Your products that are far superior to today's best and ridiculously expensive high tech products.
  • Your products potentially in an environmentally friendly effluent free way
    (also advanced recycling is faster than producing from scratch)
Graphical Infosheets: [1] (work in progress)

Self replication

Self replication in the bootstrapping process

Compact self replication is not (!!) a prerequisite for the bootstrapping of advanced nanofactories.
For details about how the bootstrapping process could be performed check out the main article: "Bootstrapping".

Self replication in normal usage

Beside useful products a personal fabricator can quickly produce copies of itself and that without any special raw materials thus you can make copies for all of your friends and they can make copies for all of their friends. Since everyone is linked to every other person on earth through a low number of acquaintanceships Wikipedia: six degrees of separation (well not entirely true) you can imagine how fast this can spread. We know it from software.

Specialization pushes self replicative capabilities into the macroscale

A main defining feature a gem-gum nanofactory (if not one of the most important ones) is that while the whole system is general purpose all its various subsystems are highly specialized. Much like what you find in a general purpose computer. There's no magic computronium inside.

This makes it:

Specialized one-task-only pick and place mechanisms can be smaller and faster than general purpose ones (just as in macroscale factories).
When every standard part needs it's own production line then a system capable of self replication that needs many part types naturally becomes quite big.

Stage step table

You may meander through this table in two ways:

  • size wise column by column including all the repeating processing steps (including the assembly levels) and/or
  • type wise row by row showing how the chosen aspect of the processing chain changes with scale

Matching to the basic assembly levels there are corresponding design levels.

The assembly levels are about the size and character of the intermediary convergent assembly steps both the assembly systems (assembly chambers, assembly manipulators, ...) and the general character of the product-fragments assembled inside. The design levels are about product design software that matches these levels.

Assembly levels are mostly static and will likely only change significantly when the nanofactory itself receives an upgrade. The design levels are about software tools for actual concrete product design which may change on every production run (with the exception of hard coded assembly in the initial convergent assembly steps).

Caracteristics Level 0 Level I Level II Level III (and up)
Type of Components Molecular fragments
wanted: versatile abundant and nontoxic elements
wanted: standard building blocks (mass produced "nuts and bolts")
wanted: reusable units (possibly indivisible)
Product fragments
wanted: composable metamaterials
Examples for typical Components Fragments of simple compounds CH4, CO2, ... including at least some basic elements: C,H,Si,Ge,...


  • basic machine elements
  • basic structural elements


  • space filling polyhedra
  • adapter-parts
  • muscle motors
  • infinitesimal bearings
  • designed stress strain behaviour
  • power tweakable energy storage
  • thermal switch material
  • air accelerators
Comprehensible size comparison model scale 500.000:1 Model atoms have the diameter of an average human hair (0.1mm) Model crystolecules are from the size of a grain of salt to the size of a playing dice (1mm-16mm) Model microcomponents are the size of a big plant pot (~50cm) Model product-fragments are the size of a house (~16m). A 50m wide soccer court scaled down 1:500.000 is visible by eye - it has the width of a human hair.
Physical Properties (strength, wear, friction and more) atoms are eternally wear free
(for all practical purpouses)
inheriting toughness emulated properties via metamaterials
Methods for Connection
(Physical interfaces)
covalent bonds advanced auto-align mechanisms
Character of Manipulators fast mass production/preparation in stiff molecular mills
(employing 3 tip tricks)
conveyor belt assembly stiff manipulators with parallel mechanics akin to steward platform conventional factory robot arms with serial mechanics. Even further up at macroscale: Highly dexterous tentacle robotics. Megascale: sparse cranes.
Internal distribution / logistics Moiety routing: Note: even for basic hydrocarbon handling this is quite complex Major rail routing station: Note: Redundancy requires fail safe producers and consumers Minor rail routing station. For microcomponent recomposition
No routing. (?)
Possibly general purpose robotic pick and place.
(Macroscale: Streaming parts through tentacle robotics?)
Airlocks and clean keeping All mechanosynthesis happens under practically perfect vacuum. No airlocks at this scale. Possibly early vacuum lockout of passivated crystolecules. Main vacuum lockout step. Passivated microcomponents can be assembled and disassembled in air. Possibly early clean-room lockout. Bigger product fragments can handle dust and dirt - to a degree.

(TODO: add miniature images and links to table)

Nanofactory control

Block diagram of a nanofactory
(TODO: include this broad image overview here)


External links