Is 3D printing safe?
So much noise currently surrounds 3D printing and it has been hailed as the future of manufacturing. 3D printing is the ability to make a three-dimensional “solid” object from digital design instructions. It follows blueprints through a computer, from which it can then build objects layer upon layer using materials such as glass, silicon, plastic, resin and ceramic. In result this can lead to consumers building complex products in the comfort of their own home.
Yes the advantages of this technology are extreme and it could open a whole new world in terms of company distribution and how we purchase products. The idea thought to be is that as the technology improves and becomes cheaper, instead of purchasing goods via shops and online delivery, consumers will instead be able to download designs and print out the items at home.
Enough of all the benefits to the argument though, as I mentioned before there is a high level of risk with such advancements. It was announced earlier this week that the first fully functional gun had been produced almost 100% via 3D printing. A controversial group based in America manufactured the firearm and plan to publish the blueprints online in public domain. The gun was successfully tested at a firing range in Texas and a speaker from the group claims they are offering the blueprints online due to “Liberty”. The gun was produced via an eBay purchased printer for $8,000 and is made from ABS plastic, with only the firing pin produced from another source (metal).
Anti-gun campaigners have heavily criticized the plan understandably, however some crime experts believe there is nothing to worry about, as users of guns will still pursue the same avenues they always have. Although it is believe that the cheaper these printers become the higher the risk value, this is what has caught the ear of worldwide government security figures. Will there be a law published? We can only wait and see.