iRobot, the company responsible for — among other things — robot vacuum cleaners that not only give rides to cats, but often times act similarly to and provide as much love as a cat, looks to be setting its sights on a new market. It has filed a patent for a “robot fabricator,” which is essentially an autonomous 3D printer that handles every part of the process itself — an “all-in-one” 3D printer.Printers — 3D or not — are generally seen as autonomous to begin with: You press a button, then an item — some kind of document or physical object — is the result. However, in the case of 3D printing, the actual printing process isn’t always just a set-it-and-forget-it affair. In iRobot’s patent, the company notes that, for example, if a 3D-printed object has some sort of overhang, then a support structure must be manually placed into the printing process, then manually removed after the overhang is complete. iRobot’s patent also aims to automatically process the seams produced through the individual layers of an object being printed. iRobot’s goal is to remove the need for human intervention, and to completely automate both the assembly and manufacturing processes.As noted in the patent, the machine’s fabrication is centered around a six-axis industrial manipulator that is capable of participating in both additive and subtractive processes, while another manipulator will handle other tasks, such as hardware testing. In order to make sure the build is going well, the unit might feature various sensors that can relay information back to the manipulators and adjust the build on the fly.Currently, the patent has not yet been granted, but even if it never is, it looks like iRobot wants to advanced the 3D printing market.