Recently I’ve noticed a certain amount of apparent scaremongering going on about 3D printers – specifically using them to create a gun.
I’m not sure why this trend is occurring when I (along with many others) am very excited about being alive and in the right place to see the wonders of the 3D printing revolution emerge. I recently got to play with a Makerbot at the office and quite simply this device is stunning. When I think back about how much I was spending on a Laserjet back in the day I can see many parallels with 3D printing technology. It fills me with hope and confidence that in a couple of years (or so) pretty much everyone will be able to run a 3D printer at home and have the world of (precise) DIY fabrication at their fingertips, creating replacement parts for the curtain rail that’s just self destructed – rather than rushing out to buy a replacement and perpetuating the wasteful regime our society currently lives in.
It’s going to change the world as we know it
So why the negative press? Why didn’t CSI or Elementary focus on using a 3D printer to enable the detectives to solve the case (rather than casting it as the protagonist)? Why didn’t BBC news mention at the bottom of the article – for all someone has used their printer to fabricate some ‘gun’ parts about all they’re good for is firing Nerf darts? It’s widely known that Defense Distributed did fabricate a ‘working’ 3D printed gun – but it really wasn’t all that good and they mostly used a piece of string tied to the trigger to fire the thing (you know, for fear of it exploding… which it did) and that they produced the gun on an $8000 industrial grade unit, nothing like what we’re seeing on the TV.
Personally I’d like to see some positive stories written for the mainstream where a 3D printer sweeps in to save the day, surely I’m not the only one who feels like this? Is there some sort of built in mode of the psyche to be fearful of emerging technology and cast negative press? Did we see any of this happening when personal computers found a way into our homes? Wargames anyone?
I could suggest that there’s some sort of conspiracy going on with the current printing giants where they are secretly paying the media to seed the idea in people’s minds that 3D printers are somehow evil and they’re only used by villains to make weapons but really that would just be silly…
Looks like the BBC news story on the 3D printed gun parts was somewhat off as they turned out to be spare printer parts…