By Ryan Mallough - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
The new age of piracy
It’s being called the “copyright Armageddon,” a looming legal battle between manufacturers and the Internet, thanks to the increasing popularity of 3D printers. With some desktop units available for as little as $500, almost anyone can now print plastic items from the comfort of home—tools and toys, house decorations, even musical instruments. The possibilities seem limitless—and so, too, does the potential for piracy.
Internet piracy has been an issue ever since Shawn Fanning created the music file-sharing program Napster. Though Napster was shut down in 2001, after one of the biggest copyright battles in history, piracy has only spread, from music to movies and books. But until recently, online theft has been limited to data, not physical objects.
Now some file-sharing websites are taking advantage of what many expect to be the next digital revolution. Popular music and video downloading website the Pirate Bay has rolled out a database for 3D downloads. The 3D printers, which are about the size of a microwave, read the files—essentially a digital blueprint—and lay down thin layers of plastic from the bottom up to build objects. There are files that claim to print everything from a working “Nerf gun” to an iPod dock. Continue…
By Luke Simcoe - Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 6:04 PM - 0 Comments
3D printing has a dark side
Last month, someone on the AR15 firearms message board boasted that they used a 3D printer to create a working .22 calibre gun. “It’s had over 200 rounds through it so far and runs great,” they wrote. Known as HaveBlue, the user claimed the gun was printed in plastic and cost a mere $100 in materials to manufacture.
“To the best of my knowledge, this is the world’s first 3D printed firearm to actually be tested, but I have a hard time believing that it really is the first,” they added.
3D printing, also known as “additive manufacturing,” is a term for building objects by laying down successive layers of material. A 3D printer starts with the bottom layer, waits for it to dry or solidify, and then works its way up. The process can vary depending on the printer and the material; most 3D printers work with things like plaster, polymer or resin, but some can even make things out of metal.
*If you haven’t watched a 3D printer video yet, watch this one:
By Jesse Brown - Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 3:39 PM - 0 Comments
Correction: the 3D printer described below (Makerbot’s newest model, unveiled at CES) is the Replicator, not the Thing-O-Matic (pictured above), as I goofed up and identify it as in this post. The Replicator costs $1749, not $1099. Here’s a link, and sorry about that.
Earlier this week I called this $100 OLPC tablet the most exciting gadget at the CES show in Vegas (which I am experiencing virtually). Some disagree, and suggest that I should have singled out this MakerBot Thing-O-Matic, an affordable 3D printer ($1099) that spits out bigger objects than the last 3D printer you all bought (right?)–and in two colors to boot.
I’m unconvinced. 3D printing makes certain geeks quiver with glee, but so far it’s left me kind of cold. The cheap little plastic choking hazards that result from the process look like they come from CrackerJack boxes, and rarely seem worth the time it takes to print them or the money that goes into the building plastic. Math-fractal jewellery made from 3D printed molds looks god-awful ugly to me, and the trippy dream of printing a 3D printer WITH A 3D PRINTER always struck me as the combined mental wankery of stoners + nerds.