Monday, October 12, 2015


Oh boy, using a 3D printer, harnessing, legalizing the things it can do, could do, might do, shouldn't do.

Golly, that weapon, women's underwear, a very fancy car....

Browsing, clicking links, collecting information, impressions, and the very latest news, I learned about the new possibilities, and yiii -- the hazards.

3D printers  are energy hogs, we have been told by the highly respected researchers at England's Loughborough University, and MIT.  3D printers consume 50 to 100 times more electrical energy than "injection molding" that can make an item of the same weight -- it's better to use 3D for "small batch" runs.

Hard to believe that you can make a nifty boombox, sneakers, and implants for your teeth.

3Ders create health risks, said the researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The emissions from desktop 3D printers are similar to burning a cigarette, or cooking on a gas or electric stove. Depending on the filament that's used, the printer emits 20 billion to 200 billion ultrafine particles that you're breathing in -- that can settle in your lungs.

Filaments -- a big topic -- depending on what you're making. The ABS plastic filament that's usually used, is unrecyclable -- like grocery bags and bottles that are already filling our landfills. Other filaments -- PLA or PBA -- are biodegradable, but much more expensive. If 3D printing is going to be industrialized, the filament needs to be recyclable.

Right now, digital piracy of movies, music, and literature is a big unsolved issue. Gun control is a huge issue -- 3D printed guns are being created with no restrictions. Safety equipment such as helmets, wheels for bikes, and toys for small children is ballooning into a monster problem. If someone kills someone with a gun, stabs with 3D printed knife, or breaks their neck while riding on a bike with a 3D printed helmet, who is accountable? The owner of the printer, the manufacturer of the printer, or the person who made it and used an untested product?

And then there is "bioprinting. The artificial human ear created by Cornell bioengineers and physicians, the liver cells, eye tissue cells, cartilage -- scientists have combined human stem cells with canine muscle cells. The moral, ethical, and legal issues are already causing controversy. Also 3D printed drugs -- yes -- chemical compounds on a molecular level using a 3D printer is possible. Someday patients will probably be able to print their own medicine with a blueprint they'll get from the pharmacy.

Also kitchenware -- utensils -- 3D printers have spaces where bacteria can grow that cannot be cleaned. There's going to be a need of a FDA approved machine.

Right now there are a lot of scary, amazing, and miraculous things to think about, like transplanting hearts, prosthetic limbs -- like printing money, liquor, beer, and robots. I can't really believe that all this can be done, but yes, yes, yes -- it can be done, and it will change our lives.

The world of 3D printing may be the next bubble -- the next very big thing that needs to be controlled before it overwhelms us. Wow. I am overwhelmed, big eyed, astounded.

1 comment:

Carola said...

Yes, it is all truly amazing. Hard to believe that plastic molded versions of some of these substantive objects can function in the same way as the "real" objects.