The recent thwarting of the Wiki project to print out a working gun with a home 3D printer has brought into sharp relief the inevitable interest that governments and law makers will take in the nascent technology.
Although the printing of a firearm at home is (probably) legal under US law, the owners of the 3D printer (Stratasays) decided that they didn’t want to risk intervention from legislation hungry politicians and seized the printer that they had rented out to guy behind the project.
While it is disputed as to whether the ‘Printable Gun’ project would have resulted in a working firearm, it’s close to certain that in the not too distant future criminals will be able to print out guns and even bombs. What will society be like when every schoolchild can print out a knife or gun in his bedroom?
And it’s not just the home production of weapons that will concern governments and law enforcement. Soon there might be 3D printers that can print out any drug on demand – from life-saving cancer drugs…to illegal recreational drugs such as cannabis or crack.
In the following TED talk, an expert in criminology and law enforcement gives his disturbing predictions as to how criminals will increasingly be taking an interest in the new opportunities afforded by emerging technology such as 3D printing:
Attractive women explains how to 3D print your own custom iPhone case using the Makerbot 3D printer. She makes use of the Autodesk123D to select an existing template and then customise it by adding her name.
The former head of MakerBot, Sam Cervantes, has revealed plans for the world’s frist $500 Home 3D Printer. The Solidoodle will be the first true home 3D printer affordable for the masses. Watch the video below to view a demonstration of the Solidoodle in action with an explaination by Sam Cervantes himself :
Lisa Harouni provides a primer on 3D printing as a TED lecture last month. She gives an account of what 3D printing is and why 2012 might be the year in which home 3D printers start to become accessible and popular. She explains that the reason whey 3D printers are not already in every home is not the price – the cheapest now cost just $333 – but the fact that most people do not know how to create the data which 3D printers read. However, new technology and software is making the operation of 3D printers much easier :
The Makerbot Replicator was one of two new home 3D printers announced at the recent CES in Las Vegas. Here is a video explaining what it is, together with some examples of objects that it can produce.
The key differences between this new Makerbot and its original version is that the Makerbot Replicator comes fully assembled, it is significantly bigger, and it can print objects in more than one color.
The latest revolution in home 3D printing is set to be revealed at the CES (consumer electronics show) about to take place in Las Vegas. The Cube 3D Printer will retail at only slightly more than the Thing-O-Matic’s $1,000 price tag, and unlike the latter, will come fully assembled at purchase.
Although the working and possible uses of the new home 3D printer are also similar to the Thing-O-Matic, the Cube 3D Printer looks a lot more consumer friendly – rather like a luxury sewing machine, and looks more at place in the home rather than the garage.
The two printers also share an open sourced ethic of a social community sharing each others 3D printing designs, with a website called Cubify for that purpose in development already.
Of the many ways 3D printing could change society, the opportunities for improved re-cycling or our waste materials in an increasingly throw-away culture could be one of the most beneficial. In a recent Guardian article, Charlotte Rica-Smith took a look at the possibility :
There’s a tiny knob missing from my hands-free car kit, which I keep meaning to replace. The thing is, I don’t think I can buy parts for it, so I probably need to fork out for a whole new system, which, frankly, I’m reluctant to do. Sound familiar? How many broken thingamajigs do you have around your home – and how many items have you chucked out with the rubbish?
But what if you could design replacement items such as dishwasher parts, cord pulls and oven knobs, or even invent a new product and then “print” it out?
The point is, of course, that you would be printing out replacement parts using the materials from the broken originals, or indeed, from general, everyday waste. Instead of going straight into the waste bin, your general refuse could be sorted into materials to be used by your home 3D printer. There is even speculation that robots could perform the role of seperating the various materials from your waste to be re-cycled by your printer.
Home 3D printers promise to turn the nation’s households into near stand alone self-sufficient economies, operating with near perfect efficiency.
Another home 3D printer has hit the market at under $1,000. The iModela 3D printer creates three dimensional figurines from templates downloaded from the internet. It can make the figures out of several different materials including wax, balsa wood, foam, and plastic. Not only are home 3D printers becoming cheaper, they are becoming more versatile in the number of materials they can handle. An ideal gift for children, it seems that children’s 3D printers are certainly leading the way to 3D printing in the home.
3D printers promise to revolutionise society in ways that nobody yet can predict. Unfortunately, like all new technology, 3D printing has a potential dark side. Already criminals are using home 3D printers to further their nefarious activities. What happens when 3D printers are in every home and teenagers can produce knives and even guns from blueprints downloaded from the internet?
The following article highlights some of the potential problems that the world of home 3D printers could be bringing very soon, or even now…
3D printers can now help a bad guy break into your home, steal your money, and even assemble an unlicensed automatic weapon…
A new company called Origo has been established with the stated aim of introudcing affordable 3d printers into the home…for kids! The idea is to develop a simple home 3d printer that wil be as easy to use for a 10 year old child as an xBox or a Playstation.
If the plans come to fruition, children will be able to make whatever they visualise – with the materials planned to be recyclable.