Worries are beginning to accumulate on the popular applications of what used to be called “rapid prototyping.” A growing number of devices that create objects from design programs are coming onto the market, potentially allowing just about anyone to make anything at home or at a nearby copy shop. NPR reports about the new concerns over the potential of 3-D printers to make guns or weapon parts.
“You may have heard about 3-D printing, a technological phenomenon that uses a robotic arm to build objects one layer at a time. As people get imaginative and create items in a one-stop-shop fashion, one more creation has been added to the printing line: gun parts.
On the West Side of Manhattan, behind large glass windows, a dozen 3-D printers build plastic toys and jewelry. Hilary Brosnihan, a manager at 3DEA, an events company that sponsored a print pop-up store, says things are moving rapidly. ‘This [3-D printing] is coming down the line; it’s coming down the line very quickly’ Brosnihan says. She also works as a toy manufacturer. The technology has boosted her business, but the idea of printing a gun horrifies her. She says most of her colleagues feel the same way.
“‘They are more of an open-source community that’s about developing things that are useful. And in our terms, weapons aren’t really useful,’ Brosnihan says. ‘Creating a way to adjust your sink faucet so you don’t have issues with it — that’s useful.’ But a lot of Americans do think guns are useful.”