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Old 09-05-2017, 06:37 PM   #1
Michael Thayne
 
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Join Date: May 2010
Default How hard is it to acquire raw materials for 3D printing?

The main THS book twice lists the raw materials required for 3D printing: “liquid plastic, conductive and resistive ceramics, metal powders, powder-epoxy composites, or self-assembling nanostructures” (p. 70) or in a slight variation “self-assembling smart ink, liquid plastic, carbon nanotubes, metallic powders, and so on" (p. 153). How hard are these to acquire? For the most part, THS seems to assume that if some asteroid homesteaders or a terrorist organization gets their hands on a 3D printer and the plans for what they want to build, they can build it. Biological items are mentioned as an important exception, and obviously 3D printers can't synthesize elements (for e.g. building a nuclear weapon). But other than that, is acquiring smart ink, nanotubes, "self-assembling nanostructures" and so on a challenge for users of 3D printers? Or are they easy to synthesize as long as you have a feed stock of the necessary elements?
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