Here is some background information about nanobots of the kind I want to include in my world.

Rational wiki says


  • The nanobots are cell-sized (not really nano, I know)
  • They build themselves into the structures, but it doesn't consists of them only. Like in tissues and sponges.
  • They have adopted many things from Earth's nature.
  • They don't use even the slightest amount of handwavium.
  • Nanobots can be "programmed"...
  • But they're usually, just receive commands from a quantum computer.
  • Nanobots are specialised, based on their function.
  • They're powered with induction charge.

    This is how they build:

  • A mass extractor mines some ores.(The obligatory Total Annihilation-Esque army uses common elements such as carbon and dead foes in their war machines.)

  • The ore gets broken down with the help of some nanobots.

  • Nanobots placed into the ore.

  • The nanobots extract and absorb all the useful stuff from the ore.

  • Then the nanobots cast into a casing, where they rearrange themselves, and start to produce a "connective tissue" between each other. After that, the nanobots will remain in the built structure, and if needed, repair it.


  • Building at this pace is possible?
  • What techniques should I use?
  • $\begingroup$ How are those nanobots different from biological cells? You can easily answer all those questions by looking at any biological organism. $\endgroup$
    – Euphoric
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 11:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Redacted, asking "how do I improve it" is pretty broad and opinion-based. I had edited to remove that, but then saw the answer that depended on it so I'll roll back and put on hold instead. Please read the link in the on-hold notice. Also, next time please try to have your initial version a little closer to done before you post; as soon as you save your first revision it appears on the site, hence all the comments you got about issues with it. 18 revisions in 10 hours is a bit much; maybe next time try drafting it in a text editor and then pasting it in when you're ready? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ See also this question to inform you as to realistic abilities. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ Even after the OP's last edit, it was still fundamentally flawed. I edited the question substantially to pull out the nugget the original appeared to want answered. If nothing else, I hope this highlights to OP the kind of focus a question needs in order to be answerable. $\endgroup$
    – SRM
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 0:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @SRM sadly, by editing you put it in the reopen review queue and it has two votes now AND you invalidated already posted answer, which is something you really shouldn't do. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


Improvement №1

Shall we begin with a bit different thing, the material

One of the strongest lightweight materials known

It is more an advert what they do, and what can be potentially made. Question-related is the fact the thing is porous(by design and one of the things which make it stronger) and that those porous-kinda-space forms one continuous space(at least it looks like so) which is good for those nanobots to retract themselves from the structure(in case we would like them to do so, or stay there without affecting the strength of the construction.

the picture from the article http://news.mit.edu/2017/3-d-graphene-strongest-lightest-materials-0106 enter image description here

Improvement №2

Use preassembled blocks to make materials, individual parts and whole constructions that way. It will speed up the things. More of that idea here

Improvement №3

Do not use nanobots if they are not faster or less efficient than ordinary less sophisticated solution.

As an example, you do not necessary have to refine the ore just by nanobots only, on all stages - a plain melting pot will be probably more efficient at melting metals than doing that by nanobots, same for gas separation, same for chemistry etc. If there is a lot of energy then plasma torch may be faster and more efficient and better use nanobots to build one to refine the ore.
So, it is good to not forget that NB is good at making tools which do actual work. They good and strong as a system or a part of a system, few kinda related thoughts about that here

Improvement №4

As developing the №2 improvement, you might consider macro-nano structures made from CNT tubes, and use another type of nanobots just to produce them and as working parts for the system. Idea is to make kinda some sort of artificial muscle tissue (strands which can be manipulated snake style) some thought about that are here related part begins with "Note about Venus scrap, snake elephant".

such thing satisfies all demands for "can" and "can't" from your answer at the moment of writing the answer.

Especially it is good for creating space ships and defense structures for them against kinetic projectiles(the another your question)

Also, very recommended is megastructures playlist by Isaac Arthur everything what is there about active supporting structures and their applications.

  • $\begingroup$ I just made an edit to the question, because asking for improvements without saying something about what's wanted is really broad and opinion-based. I'm sorry about the impact on your answer; pity the question wasn't put on hold while it was in that state. Please feel free to make further edits to the question if you can bring it closer to what you intended to answer while still being a good Stack Exchange question. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 21:40
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This solves many of my problems, I put the other part of my question in the next one. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 9:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .