The Magic Printer

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This conjecture is designed to illustrate the primary problems with modern additive manufacturing technologies. The conjecture is capable of printing whatever object the user may want. Simply by uploading a file, a user could have a complete basketball, laptop, or even at a large enough scale, an entire airplane printed. The key point here is that users would receive a complete and finished product. There is no need for adding more materials or post production work. This is obviously a technology far off in the future, but thinking of 3D printers this way provides a couple benefits to current designers.

First it allows us to think clearly about a couple of problems. The first being the introduction of other materials into the 3D print. This has to be done more intentionally than what is seen in the conjecture. Pieces in the design either need to be ready to receive a new material, or the print may need to be paused at a certain time stamp in order to properly introduce the new material mid print.

On another hand, this conjecture also allows us to think about 3D printing things we may not have before. For example the basketball, while the conjecture is capable of filling the ball with gas, modern 3D printers can not. However, modern printers can print in materials such as rubber. So why not print a basketball now even though this is something we don’t normally think about?

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