For a few thousand dollars, $2000 to $3500, it is possible to buy a device about the size of a portable microwave oven that is capable of 3D printing or additive manufacturing. Using computer software as a template, many devices and components can be manufactured at home at little cost. That includes the regulated mechanism which is the heart of an AK-47 or other assault-type weapons. At the moment, the quality of the printed item is low, but that will change. Imagine if you will, that anyone can make an assault rifle at home. How do you regulate that?
We live in exciting times and the 3D printer will revolutionize our lives. Imagine a world where shipping containers and delivery trucks are no longer needed. The dawn of that age is upon us. In Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson wrote about a future where basic necessities and luxuries were manufactured at home to the extent that consumers could afford them. When I read the book in 1995, I never expected to live long enough to see the actual devices. Well that day is here now. It will make our lives easier, hopefully, but it will also make gun control and the regulation of illegal substances more difficult.
Please see Interface
- Expanding The 3D Printing Technology Into New Industries (zintro.com)
- Holiday Gift Guide: 3D Printing (makezine.com)
- Congressman calls for ban on 3D printed guns (boingboing.net)