- The most plausible route to a Nanofactory is via Custom manufacturing or Rapid Prototyping at progressively smaller scales - Miniaturization the top-down approach.
- Micro fabrication will require tiny precision engineered Hands And Grips for Robots. These will be one of the first targets of general-purpose micro-manufacturing.
- Molecular nanotechnology using diamondoid nanoscale robotics, e.g., the Nanofactory Collaboration
The other routes to Nanotechnology are more likely to lead in the short term to custom products and not to general purpose manufacture.
- The bottom up route, using Biotechnology, is constrained by being adaptations of existing naturally occuring protein and enzymes and our custom derivatives.
- The third route via Lithography, leveraging the photographic-reduction process used in modern chip manufacture to produce micro machines (SEMS), is also less likely to lead to a general purpose Nanofactory. The reason is that that technology is planar, and silicon based. Moving to 3D and other non silicon-like materials is very hard.
Cost-performance ratio, helping nanofactories to drive down the cost of goods to almost nothing