Maker Faire 2012 in New York last weekend was a great place to see, first hand, the products and processes behind a very promising technology that’s been receiving so much attention lately, and rightfully so. It’s clear to many that 3DPrinting isn’t merely a passing fad, but perhaps an evolutionary step in the field of manufacturing, if not revolutionary, and that has some people very nervous.
3DPrinting has the potential to shake up the consumer landscape as we know it.
Not today, not tomorrow, but down the line, home printing machines like those of RepRap, and Makerbot, are only going to get more advanced and accessible. There will come a time when home users will be able to print everyday objects from home.
That’s an awesome thing, and perhaps scary to some.
3DPrinting has now captured headlines for just being itself – what it can do now, what it will do in the future – but just as many headlines are now being captured by 3DPrinting’s recent darker application’s, such as the hobbiest project to create a home 3DPrintable gun by Defense Distributed.
“The Defense Distributed’s goal isn’t really about personal armament, it’s more the liberation of information,” they suggest in a video promoting Wiki Weapon. “It’s about living in a world where you just download for the thing you want to make in this life. As the printing press kind of revolutionised literacy, 3DPrinting is in its moment.”
Politics being what they are, you have to wonder if 3DPrinting will ultimately fulfill its potential of shaking up the industry and revolutionizing big industry, or if big industry, along with the government, will weigh the technology down with rules, regulations, and a ton of red tape. As CreativityGames.net points out, it’s only a matter of time before the lobbying for laws and restrictions begins.
“They put fear into people’s heads. These devices could be used by terrorists in malicious ways. Criminals could print guns and other weapons with them. Kids could make all manner of things they shouldn’t with them. Inevitably, someone does create something evil with one of these devices. Governments everywhere fall in line and enact laws heavily restricting their use. You now need a license to own one, and legally they must have restrictions on them that only allow them to print designs approved by the government…” – CreativityGames.net
Maker Faire 2012 showed some wonderful applications of this budding new technology – it would be shame if all the things we saw and the potential that exists were ultimately hamstrung by corporations and governments.’