3-D Printing

Written December, 2012

3-D printing

Scientists are attempting to use 3-D printing to create everything from architectural models to human organs. While the technology still lags behind the hype (in other words, we’re not getting Star Trek-style replicators anytime soon), we could be looking at a future when we can print personalized pharmaceuticals or home-printed guns and explosives. For now, 3-D printing is largely the realm of artists and designers, but we can easily envision a future where 3-D printers are affordable and patterns abound for products both benign and malicious, and that cut out the manufacturing sector completely.

While there has been a great deal of discussion about the ethics of printing weapons at home and the potential effects 3-D printing (specifically, bioprinting) will have on human enhancement, many of these developments are farther down the road. One of the most pressing concerns to the tech community is potential copyright infringements made by 3-D printers.

Patent and copyright issues:

Protecting 3D Printing Designs And Objects (Forbes)

3D Printing: How Will IP Law Handle The “Next Revolution” in Manufacturing?(The IP Stone)

Difference Engine: The PC all over again? (The Economist)

Printing potential weapons:

Meet The ‘Liberator’: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gun(Forbes)

Why fear of 3D-printed guns is overblown (CNET)

Officials: Stopping 3D-Printed Guns Could Be Impossible (Mashable)

3-D printed gun fires 6 shots — then falls apart (NBC News)

Weapons made with 3-D printers could test gun-control efforts (Washington Post)

Navy could soon use 3-D printers to manufacture drones and weapons (Yahoo! News)


A Battery and a “Bionic” Ear: a Hint of 3-D Printing’s Promise (MIT Technology Review)

Printing Evolves: An Inkjet for Living Tissue (Wall Street Journal)

3D-Printed Human Organs Prep Doctors for Real Surgeries (Mashable)

Building Up Buttercup: 3D Printed Foot Helps Duck Walk (PC Magazine)

3D-Printed Ear Created in Lab (Live Science)

Other resources on 3-D printing:

Makerbot (info on purchasing 3-D printers)

Researchers Develop Flexible Metal for 3-D Printers (NYT Blogs)

Leading 3-D printer firms to merge in $403M deal (Wall Street Journal)

3-D Printers to Make Things You Need or Like (NYT)

Don’t shun 3D printers – they might save your life one day (opinion piece from ScienceAlert)