The Future of 3D Printing: Door Knobs, Medical Equipment, and Guns

(Photo of first gun manufactured via a 3D printer)

A few years ago, the idea of a 3D printer came out, and the world said, “Hmm…” Today, political humorist, Stephen Colbert says, “We no longer have to rely on the Chinese for our plastic pieces of crap, because what’s cheaper than a Chinese worker? A robot.”

MakerBot is one of the founding fathers of the 3D printer, and their Replicator 2 is one of the world’s first personal desktop versions costing just a smidgen over $2,000. Having an assembly line on your desk capable of building 410 cubic inches (the size of a large Chevy small block engine) of just about anything you could imagine, certainly puts an interesting twist to the future.

As a consumer nation, we have gone from sewing and harvesting our own food and shelter, to purchasing these items from small businesses and markets. In time, the internet brought the convenience of doing our shopping in front of a computer screen, and then waiting the standard three to seven days for it to be delivered.

Today, we are staring down the barrel of once again manufacturing our own goods from the comfort of home. This is a big deal, considering one day (not too far down the road) you will be printing door knobs to replace broken ones. Hospitals will have the capability to manufacture life-saving medical devices, and hobbyists, will be building their own working firearms.

Wait, what did we just say?

One of the fears with 3D printing is how it will affect manufacturers. Most of all, how certain laws are going to be reinforced, considering that anyone will have the capability to make things, and some of those choices may be slightly deadlier than others.

Defense Distributed is a group that has been developing blueprints for a working gun that will one day be available online for anyone to download and manufacturer using a 3D printer. They have run into a few snags along the way, such as how to build it so that it will be sturdy enough to handle the blast charge, and how laws will be regulated in the future.

Currently, it is perfectly legal to build your own firearm, so long as there is no intent to sell it. The question is, what if a pet robot builds it for you? Well, that’s what we call the gray area of awesomeness!

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.

About Dr. Eric J. Leech

Eric has written for over a decade. Then one day he created, a site for every guy.