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The ability to create self-replicating machines can give some very useful benefits. So what is the problem with creating this type of stuff?

Let's say we have two pieces of equipment - 3d printers and robotic arms. These items are already available and are easy to create.

It looks like they are enough to create self replicating machines. 3d printers are able to print any details for arms and printers. Robotic arms are able to assemble other arms and printers. Both equipment items are able to create almost any other kind of stuff.

Basically, both arms (i.e. manipulators) and 3d printers consist of servomotors, wires, chips and structural mechanical elements. They all can be easily 3d printed, that's no doubt I guess.

So we need only one set of 3d printers and arms with basic program to start the process. The more sophisticated programs can be added later to create almost any type of equipment from design. If there is enough rough materials, this process can be scaled indefinitely and allow to construct, gather resources etc.

So what is the problem with that scheme, why it is not used already yet everywhere?

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – Buzz
    Oct 30, 2021 at 0:39

1 Answer 1

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Central to the operation of both 3D printers and robotic arms are electric motors. With today's 3D printers, neither wire nor permanent magnets can be 3-D printed, so motors cannot be made with them.

Chip manufacture requires a factory that costs approx. 1 billion dollars to build. Central to that enterprise are photolithographic machines with accuracy requirements that are at present 4 to 6 orders of magnitude more stringent than what a 3-D printer can produce. This is decidedly not a "small specific issue".

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  • $\begingroup$ Basically, both arms (i.e. manipulators) and 3d printers consist of servomotors, wires, chips and structural mechanical elements. They all can be easily 3d printed, that's no doubt I guess. $\endgroup$
    – Paco Loco
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ Also we don't need a very modern chips with high accuracy/precision requirements for that. All that is able to be controlled easily with 5-7 old chips as well. In case of special processing power, machines can connect to processing center for example. $\endgroup$
    – Paco Loco
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ In case of making servomotors - they are already produced massively using automated lines. So a combination of robotic arms can handle it with no problems. $\endgroup$
    – Paco Loco
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ This question is already closed, so here is my answer as a complilation of all issues in discussions above. It looks like there are no technical problems with that. As often seen in modern science/research/development, the only problem is with funding. The problems with this scale require some solid funds for a large amount of time. That is not compatible with modern financial world, that is aiming at low term profits in simple stuff. Both states and commercial sectors (venture firms) are not currently able or willing to fund it due to uncertainties. $\endgroup$
    – Paco Loco
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ The solution might be in centralized fundings using tax from states via UN or something. It may be like a cross-state global research and development fund (with let's say 1% of GDP per state shares). The results (products and tech blueprints) may be shared to participants due to their share part. But that require a lot of changes and currently is not available in the nearest future unfortunately. $\endgroup$
    – Paco Loco
    Oct 29, 2021 at 18:38

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