A replicator, short for matter replicator, was a machine that could create anything. It was the holy grail of nanofabricators.
(Note: The background section of this page uses most of the same words as Terra Futura's page on nanofabricators to save time.)
Until the second decade of the 21st century, 3D printers were extremely expensive. They were thus limited to certain roles. These roles included industrial prototyping, product design, medical modeling, and architectural models. By 2015, 3D printers were cheap enough to be sold to consumers. These worked by melting nylon powder and then shaping it based on computer instructions. Anything could be made even if they were just models for big plans. Users could download new items and configurations from the web. Artists used this in combination with 3D scanners and modeling software. As time went on, nanotechnology started making its way into 3D printing. Eventually, this would lead to the nanofabricator.
In the late 21st century, nanofabricators were coming into existence. They reproduce a significant amount of items. They were essentially miniature factories. When nanofabricators first came into existence, they were only used by the military, corporations, and doctors. With help from picotechnology, nanofabricators entered the mainstream. Raw materials were sold separately and could be loaded in solid, liquid, or powdered form. The process would take only minutes. New schematics could be downloaded from the Internet. During the 22nd century, femtotechnology started being used in nanofabricators. This would lead to the matter replicator.
Tech Level: 13
Replicators were capable of producing of instantly producing any known substance at quantum fidelity. At the close of the 22nd century, they were just entering the mainstream. Previously, they were only used in factories, science labs, and corporations because they were big and expensive and consumed a lot of power. Thanks to Moore's Law, they were now small enough to fit on kitchen tables. The most common use for them is to make food. Raw materials specially formulated to statistically require the least quantum manipulation were stored in special compartments. The user would input his/her choice from a whole database of choices using the brain-computer interface that was part of the person's brain. Molecular analyzers would then scan the raw materials and choose which ones to use. Trillions of Heisenberg compensators, the same technology used in teleportation, were used to maintain cohesion while force fields helped the product materialize. The replicator played a role in ending poverty, disease, and hunger throughout the world. Traditional agriculture, manufacturing, and distribution ceased to exist. Money was no longer needed. The last vestiges of capitalism were gone.