Machines that are able to reproduce themselves are a staple of science fiction. The Terminator, The Matrix, and Star Trek’s Borg are all examples of self replicating machines run amok. For some reason replicants always have a goal of wiping out humanity, rather than being satisfied with cleaning our houses and taking us places. Like kids, there’s no appreciation for all we’ve done for them.
If humanity ever finds itself combating machines we may trace the blame to the developers of RepRap or Contraptor. These are two Open Hardware projects for building rapid prototypes. RepRap, in particular, has a goal of being able to produce over 50% of it’s own parts, including printing its circuit boards. RepRap is a 3d printer that builds up robust mechanical parts a layer at a time out of plastic resin. Input to RepRap is G-Code, which is a standard language processed by CNC machines. RepRap also has Java software that reads in STL files and creates the G-Code for RepRap. STL files are the standard for exchanging 3D model data between CAD programs. They basically list polygons (usually triangles) needed to describe the surfaces.
Contraptor is a kit of parts that can be used to build a variety of cartesian robots, such as a CNC machine, XY plotter, or (with RepRap’s plastic print head) another rapid prototyper. It’s not a complete solution like RepRap, but has more versatility since you define and complete its functionality yourself.
So here you have a couple of gadgets than enable you to easily build additional gadgets, including gadgets that themselves produce gadgets! To paraphase Smokey the Bear, though, please remember: Only you can prevent worldwide domination by machines.