Can you 3D print a 3D printer?
Nowadays, 3D printers can print a lot of different things. Even foods such as pizza, chocolate, gummy candy and many more can now be 3D printed. It is fascinating to know that the 3D printing industry is now open to broad possibilities which leads to a new industrial revolution.
3D printing has provided new techniques to replicate objects from manufacturing to construction. With this, it is often asked today if it is possible to 3D print a 3D printer itself.
Is it really possible?
A 3D printer can print out most of the parts of a 3D printer. However, it is not yet able to print a whole new 3D printing machine. This means that the parts can only be printed individually.
3D printers are made of different components. Some of the components can be 3D printed using 3D printers. But, a few of the components cannot be simply printed by a 3D printer.
What parts of the 3D printer can be 3D printed?
3D printer components such as screen holders, screw and motor mounts, filament holders and even the part of the frame can be printed via a 3D printer.
Many people have tried to customise some parts such as cooling fan, air distribution assembly and many more to create a 3D printer.
Basically, some 3D printers can only 3D print parts that are made of plastic. Although there are some 3D printers that can print metal parts, it can be very expensive. Also, those metal parts don’t provide the same temperature resistance, reliability and strength compared to machined parts.
What parts of the 3D printer cannot be 3D printed yet?
Heater block is one of the 3D printer components that is not yet possible to be 3D printed. It is a part of a 3D printer where material filaments are heated up to melt and form an 3D object. Since this part needs to be heat-resistant, it should not be made of plastic.
Moreover, electronic components cannot be printed by a 3D printer. Parts such as circuit boards are hard to be printed since they consist of metal components. Some of these components are delicate and need to be soldered on integrated circuits and capacitors.
3D printing a 3D printer may not be fully possible today. However, a 3D printer has its limitations on what parts it can only print.
Nevertheless, engineers and designers are trying their best to develop new technologies that will able 3D printers to self-replicate.
Who knows, maybe in the future, 3D printers can fully print a functional 3D printer.
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