3D Printer

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RepRap 3D printer

3D printing (also known as Rapid Prototyping) is a technology of creating objects layer-by-layer, may make it possible for the Mars colony to fabricate items from native materials. Currently 3D printers depend on highly processed plastics and metals. 3D printing technology is quickly getting cheaper and faster, as the first 3D printers are getting available for only a few thousand dollars. Advanced 3d printers may be able to print electronics with high precision if the sophisticated raw materials for these electronics (such as copper and silicon) can be made available in highly purified form.

If Martian material can be used for construction then a single 3D printer can be sent instead of many items, thus saving valuable mass.

Open issues

  • What material can be found and used in 3d printers?
  • Can any "ecosystem" of 3D printers and other CDC machines be designed that can make 99%+ of their collective parts from native Martian materials?