Can a 3D printer print its own components?

  • #1
Could a 3D printer print its own ink, plastic filament, motors or anything / everything else that it uses to operate and print?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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It isn't possible at the moment, but I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible in the future once the technology advances.
 
  • #3
mathman
Science Advisor
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A 3D printer would not "know" if the output is for itself or anything else. As Drakkith said, it simply depends on technology.
 
  • #4
Chronos
Science Advisor
Gold Member
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We can 3d print car parts even though the printer has no clue what a car is.
 
  • #5
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I laughed, and I apologize. But of all the components you listed, the "ink" would be the most expensive. Consider what your 3D printer would have to do:

1 - Print a container (an empty cartridge)
2 - Position itself over the empty cartridge it just printed
3 - Drain its cartridge, filling the cartridge it just printed (but not managing to fill it all the way).
4 - Wait for you to refill it with more ink.
5 - Finish filling the cartridge it printed earlier.
 

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