Unexpected (to me) twist on 3D printing

The sixteen parts of Defense Distributed's 3D-printable gun, the Liberator. Credit: Forbes

It is really true that for any technology upside there is a dark downside!

I run few days ago on this news published by Forbes on the possibility to print a gun in your home, by using a 3D printer.

The founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, received a letter from the US State Dept Office asking him to delete from the web the blueprint on how to use a 3D printer to print a do-it-yourself gun. You can take a look a the video clip. To me it is frightening and what is even  more frightening is to see the type of (enthusiastic) comments the clip has drawn.

A 3D printer costing less than 1,000$ (999$ to be precise, and the cost keeps decreasing) is all you need to print your own gun. It is made in plastic, with a little pin (a nail) in metal to hit the shell (the cartridge case) that you can easily get at any ironmongery in your neighbour.

And the request for deleting the blueprint instruction to the 3D printer to manufacture your home-made gun doesn't help either, since by now there will be plenty of copies of it on the web and plenty more will become available.

Indeed, what used to be a sophisticated technology that only a few specialised factories could manufacture is now becoming feasible back home. And don't be mislead by the "prototype" look of the result. In a few innovation cycles it will go from prototype to refined product, and innovation cycles are now very short.

Worse than that. Once you are opening up production to the world you will get innovation coming from many sources with an even faster innovation cycle.

Indeed, the Internet Age has provided tools but we are missing the global framework to use these tools, and with global I include the ethical as well as social safeguards.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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