Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can a 3D printer print its own components?

  1. Oct 11, 2016 #1
    Could a 3D printer print its own ink, plastic filament, motors or anything / everything else that it uses to operate and print?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2016 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    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.
  4. Oct 11, 2016 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    A 3D printer would not "know" if the output is for itself or anything else. As Drakkith said, it simply depends on technology.
  5. Oct 14, 2016 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    We can 3d print car parts even though the printer has no clue what a car is.
  6. Dec 1, 2016 #5
    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.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted