3D printers can be used to print multiple types of objects, including toys, machine parts, and even medical devices. It may seem like they can print virtually anything. But can 3D printers be used to print money?
3D printers can’t be used to print money. Printed money has a different surface texture that 3D printers cannot duplicate. Currency is also printed with unique designs to prevent counterfeiting, so replicating those security features can be challenging and illegal.
In this article, I’ll examine why 3D printers can’t be used to print money and how money is printed. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Printing Money With a 3D Printer Is Not Possible
3D printers, or additive manufacturing (AM) machines, can create three-dimensional objects by building them up layer by layer. This technology is revolutionizing how we design and manufacture many types of objects.
And while machines that are capable of printing currency do exist, there’s no device yet capable of replicating banknotes with security features printed on them, including watermarks and special inks only visible under ultraviolet light. For these reasons, a 3D printer cannot print a banknote that presents the same texture and appearance as a real bill.
Most 3D printers may not be able to handle ink either. Many currencies use multiple colors on their banknotes to add further complexity to the design, making it difficult to copy.
For example, U.S. banknotes have a mix of dark green and black ink on them. These inks help create the intricate designs and patterns that you see on each banknote. So, even if a 3D printer was able to imitate the texture of a banknote if it’s still unable to handle ink, it likely won’t be able to print detailed graphics on each banknote.
At the same time, 3D printers have been used to print coins and can even emboss the prints, so they look nearly identical to real coins. However, this doesn’t mean you should make 3D copies of your pocket change, as it could have severe consequences.
Consequences of Counterfeit Money
While it’s true that there is an increasing number of 3D printers entering homes and becoming more affordable, they aren’t being used to print money. Attempting to print currency with a 3D printer isn’t only dangerous for the user but also criminal.
Counterfeiting is a serious crime that is punishable under the law. Therefore, you should refrain from using your 3D printer to make counterfeit currency.
There are also no materials available that can replicate printed money’s exact look and feel. And if new security features are added to currency, such as micro-images or metal components, it’s doubtful that these could be completely replicated with a 3D printer either.
How Is Money Printed?
Money is printed in various ways, from hand-held bills to massive printing presses. The currency is printed at two facilities: the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C., and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia.
Money is printed using a printing press. Metal plates containing the design are pressed against pressure rollers that force ink onto the blank paper through fine screens.
Paper currency passes through multiple steps to acquire its unique and colorful designs. After being printed on sheets of paper, bills are then cut into individual notes that have their edges roughed up so they can’t be re-used. Finally, each bill is inspected for quality before being released into circulation.
Banks use specialized machines to count stacks of money, which prevents them from being stolen or damaged during transport. This allows cashiers at businesses to take only small amounts of cash out at a time, keeping large quantities of money secure.
The Future of Printing Money
Today, most countries around the world use banknotes made with cotton fibers for paper bills. We may see governments begin to explore other options with regard to this material, though, which could lead to the implementation of alternate materials into banknote creation in the future.
Printing money with 3D printers would be difficult if it were to be attempted using today’s technology. As mentioned previously, these devices cannot replicate the subtle colors used on banknotes and tactile features that help prevent counterfeiting.
Other Uses for 3D Printers
While the technology isn’t yet capable of replicating money for counterfeiting purposes, 3D printers can be used to create a variety of items that allow designers and engineers to test prototypes faster.
Additionally, AM processes enable manufacturers to build products more efficiently with less waste, reducing finished goods inventories significantly. 3D printers can make prototypes and manufacture items such as medical implants or customized prosthetics.
3D Printers are also used to make tools and parts for personal use or gifting. But is there anything else 3D printers can print?
3D Printers Can Print Play Money
While they shouldn’t be used to try and print real currency, 3D printers can safely be used to print plastic tokens, coins, or chips. They can be helpful if you want to print play money for children, collection purposes, or to accommodate board games.
You can also use a 3D printer to print any other important board game pieces that have gone missing, such as figurines.
To learn more about printing play money, such as coins, check out this YouTube video:
3D printing technology has been used to create objects from computer models. However, 3D printers can’t be used to print money because they can’t replicate the surface texture of paper bills. They also can’t imitate the security features on most banknotes.
Although it is possible to print coins with a 3D printer, attempting to print fake currency is illegal and could land you in a lot of trouble.
Therefore, if you’re going to print any money using your 3D printer, make sure it’s play money, such as board game tokens.
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I started 3D printing since 2013 and have learned a lot since then. Because of this I want to share my knowledge of what I have learned in the past years with the community. Currently I own 2 Bambulab X1 Carbon, Prusa SL1S and a Prusa MK3S+. Hope you learn something from my blog after my years of experience in 3D printing.