Answer to Question about 3D Printing?
February 6, 2015
Jeffery K. asks…
Q. With the growing popularity of 3D Printing, what’s to prevent the illegal manufacture of patented or illegal items?
A. Nothing much, but it doesn’t mean we should ban this new technology. There is a legal framework in place and I’m certain there will be a flurry of lawsuits protecting patents, but this happens with any new technology. The bottom line is that competition will probably improve the printer resin choices as well as reduce the costs of the resin and machines. And as for the threat of plastic weapons, the Federal government has tested the popular 3D printed gun, the Liberator, and determined it to be not very effective. See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/13/3d-guns-atf_n_4269303.html I mean, think of it: a plastic gun? There are a lot of forces at play when a bullet is fired and I have doubts as to if and how long a plastic gun will hold up. I certainly would not want to be the one holding a plastic handgun and squeeze the trigger. And we have laws in place about illegally using firearms so we’ll let the courts handle those who wish to operate outside the law.
So let’s embrace this new technology for the good it can produce, from cheap and rapid prototypes to fabricated body parts like ears.