Is 3D printing the TNT equivalent of the 21st century?
3D printing emerged like TNT: It was a cheaper alternative to construction and a more precise method for creating objects that served as toys and useful tools.
As you well know, TNT was created by an archeologist to be able to get to tombs that would previously take others months or years to get to.
Recently, someone in the US took 3D printing a step further and is now selling 3D-printed guns.
What’s next? Destructive cannons because someone turned on his/her 3D printer and was bored?
Let us take a look back at what 3D printing was and how it reached the wrong hands, thus transforming something innocent and innovative into something dangerous.
The 3D building was the future
3D printing promised in 2016 to be the future of construction: Cutting costs (houses costing around $4k and $10k; according to BisNow, a news site), cutting time (transportation; and even if the building blocks were printed offsite, they are 75% lighter, according to BCG, a corporate news site) and looking amazing while working (just look at the picture above).
The tech is promising to build 25% of Dubai’s buildings by 2030, according to Construction Week Online, a construction website.
From construction to leisure, 3D promises more.
Create what you imagine
People from around the world have already done it using software and 3D printers to create what they can imagine. Previously, you had to have a carver for wood, a pressing machine for plastic or melting and molding by hand for metal.
3D printing expedites the process by forcing you to take 15 minutes creating a model and waiting for it to print. It’s so easy that anyone can almost do it, and you don’t even need any expensive software or skills: Microsoft Paint 3D is designed for beginners and professionals alike, and is free on Windows 10.
That’s not all, because 3D printing is also an asset in healthcare.
A 3D transplant heart
According to Tech Crunch, Amanda Boxtel, a girl who was “paralyzed from the waist down,” was “uncomfortable in her robotic suit.” She set out to use 3D printing to create herself a comfortable suit that allowed her higher freedom of movement and comfortability. Heart or skin grafts are next.
In a recent issue of Medical Journal of Australia, Surgical Doctor Jason Chuen details how he achieved a breakthrough with this technology.
He printed “organoids,” according to Tech Crunch, and made them by using stem cells instead of the conventional 3D material (plastic, cement or metal).
So he created an organ that can take over in case another organ fails, such as the kidney.
However, technology is a double-edged sword.
Misuse of technology
A recent report by CNN shows how a man using 3D technology has printed and sold guns.
It is not against the law in America, but it is something that can make any technology open to regulations and laws soon enough, and it has.
Michealson, a law news site, details how laws might be implemented to prevent the misuse of this technology, stating: “Product liability is still unclear at this time, and the position is unclear.” However, Times Magazine says the misuse of 3D printing, whether for personal or harmful reasons, is almost legal.
So, it is to anyone’s guess how a 3D-printed item might cause harm. Only time will tell.