3D printers is the technology of the future that is here to stay. Today, everywhere you look, you can find news about the latest innovations that have come about using a 3D printer. From motorbikes to medical equipments and prosthetic limbs and futuristic gadgets, people have been able to create almost anything out of their imagination into a workable prototype or even a full-fledged product that is ready for the market.
Popularity in Australia
With the technology evolving rapidly, and improvements being made constantly in 3D printer filament, it is no wonder that people in Australia, from hobbyists to entrepreneurs and industrialists, have wholeheartedly embraced the 3D printing technology.
The downside of the technology
However, just like anything else that is manmade, 3D printers have become a double-edged sword that is being used for a lot of shady things. While it may still not be an affordable technology for everyone, the misuse of 3D technology is still widespread and happening because it is available in a convenient way to many industrial houses, developers, programmers, and other people who can afford to buy the best in 3D printers, so this is something that everyone has to be aware of.
What are the dangers of 3D printing technology?
One of the latest cases where 3D printing technology captured the attention of the world for all the wrong reasons was when a law student put up a video of a gun he had designed and got printed using a 3D printer. The CAD design of the gun was downloaded in the thousands before it was removed at the express request of the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. In Australia too, 3D printers are becoming increasingly popular and there’s no telling what will be cooked up next.
The other dangers of 3D printers
Apart from a deliberate misuse of the printers to create products which may be harmful for the general populace, there are other dangers to 3D printers that people need to be aware of. Knowing these dangers will give people a more comprehensive idea of how to use 3D printers in a way that is safe for themselves and the environment. Some of these dangers are:
-> Printing or buying guns that are made with plastic from 3D printing technology. The danger of this is that they could pass through metal detectors and be used indiscriminately by anyone with an agenda that is not for the highest good of the public. Printing out firearms using a 3D printer just so that licensing requirements can be circumvented is one of the biggest dangers of the technology. It puts guns in the hands of anyone and everyone. All that is needed is to download the CAD design and get it printed either personally or commercially.
-> Printing of safety gadgets or devices using 3D printers that may not hold up to the rigorous standards that are met when the same product is manufactured using metal. For example, printing of helmets and other safety gear using 3D printers can result in danger to the life of the person if the helmet does not hold up in an accident.
-> Printing of products that absolutely need metal to be effective and functional, but using 3D printing technology to make it instead, in order to save on time and money. This is both unethical and illegal.
-> 3D printed drugs are the latest threat to the public due to the misuse of 3D printing technology. Using a chemical blueprint that can be availed from a pharmacy, 3D printers can be used to print out drugs, so that patients can henceforth print out their own drugs! Though this may not be something that is viable in the near future, if it does become possible, then any drug can be printed using it, from cocaine to cyanide, and the implications of this misuse are enormous.
-> Printing out food-related items using 3D printers: Anything from a fork to a plate can be printed out this way, but what are the safety and health risks associated with this?
With 3D printing technology, it is easy to go both ways-create as well as destruct, so it is important to be aware at all times and choose wisely.