Technical Entry – 3d Printing Technology

3d printing is the premiere manufacturing procedure in the Terran Federation in the 25th century. Far and away the most versatile and powerful way to create finished goods and technology, the process allows turning raw materials into finished goods using only two resources… enormous amounts of energy, and waste heat.

The Terran Federation uses carbon nanotubes, created to precisely the size of the atom to be delivered to force a molecule into place and provide enough energy to bond them together. This is an energy rich process, but not insanely so… compared with powering an interstellar ship’s drive, for example, the burden on a fusion reactor is quite minimal. It is not, however, an especially quick process… but still faster than almost any means of manufacturing available in the 21st century.

The Kthid use a different process. Forgoing carbon nanotubes entirely, they deliver molecules using streams of photons from laser emitters. This is far, far faster, but takes place at an almost unthinkably high energy budget… implying the existence of a means of power storage or generation that dwarfs what the Federation is currently capable of. This process, however quick, does come with an additional disadvantage, however… the amount of waste heat also means that producing explosives or fissionables using this method is much more dangerous that the Federations method, and more likely to result in the destruction of the printing apparatus. It is likely they make weapons by some other means.