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"I started writing in the 1930's when I was eighteen years old. And deep inside me I'm still eighteen and it's still 1938."
- Isaac Asimov

Device Replication  
  Manufacturing devices from a template to save space on space craft.  

This is an early description of this idea, which is now gaining currency.

They had come equipped for solving the problem of the maze. The ship’s brain, of course, was a first-class computer, and it carried the details of all previous Earth-based attempts to enter the city. Except one, and unfortunately that had been the only successful one. But records of past failures have their uses. The ship’s data banks had plenty of mobile extensions: airborne and groundborne drone probes, spy-eyes, sensor batteries, and more. Before any human life was risked on the maze Boardman and Hosteen would try the whole mechanical array. Mechanicals were expendable, anyway; the ship carried a set of templates, and it would be no trouble to replicate all devices destroyed. But a point would come at which the drone probes had to give way to men: the aim was to gather as much information as possible for those men to use.
From The Man in the Maze, by Robert Silverberg.
Published by Avon Books in 1969
Additional resources -

The current idea is to use 3D printing devices in space, on the International Space Station for example, and use CAD files (templates) to just make the devices they need, rather than stockpile them from Earth shipments.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Man in the Maze
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Silverberg
  Tech news articles related to The Man in the Maze
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Silverberg

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