Thursday, October 11, 2012

5 Key Ways That 3D Printers Could Improve the World

3D Printer future of manufacturing?
Activist Post

Whenever a new technology is created that has the potential to offer more opportunity and freedom to the average human being, we must listen to the "concerns" generated by major industry and governments. With the Internet, we hear the propaganda that what we know to be a level playing field of the free market of ideas is perceived by those in power as a "potential terrorist recruiting source." In this way, there is a full spectrum of excuses that can be employed for overt suppression, or de facto suppression through regulation, which inevitably results in the hoarding of technology by corporations and governments.

The latest technology that is increasing its footprint exponentially (with a subsequent exponential reduction in cost) is 3D printing. And, true to form, the establishment has focused on the nearly free weaponry that could be -- and, in fact, has been -- created, from drones to guns. Here is the central concern stated by The Lowy Institute's Australian propaganda outlet:
Effectively, this means that an individual or group has the ability – with minimal investment – to avoid the cumbersome task of purchasing expensive overseas technology and instead print their weapon. (Source)
However, beyond this obvious smokescreen lies a technology that could easily revolutionize every facet of our lives, exactly as Internet communication has. Let us look at the top 5 ways that 3D printers will change the world for the good if we can resist government and big industry intrusion and insist on the day when there is a 3D printer in every home.

Homemade weapons: What the establishment sees as the greatest threat could be one of the single greatest uses for 3D printing to bring freedom on the widest scale -- the ability for anyone to print a weapon. Every tyrannical regime throughout history has disarmed the public prior to becoming a truly out-of-control killing machine. With the ability for anyone, anywhere to be able to defend oneself and mobilize quickly against a growing threat, governments would have to think twice before heading down the road to tyranny. The fact is that human nature has now been scientifically proven to be inherently non-violent; it is only a relative handful of psychopaths that exist -- and they tend to seek positions of power or congregate in street gangs. Good people, vastly outnumbering them, must have the equipment to defend themselves while keeping the truly dangerous people (and governments) in check ... or preferably have them disarmed.

Increased Health Benefits: Low-cost lab equipment means a lowered outlay for research. We often hear a familiar refrain from Big Pharma that the reason why medication costs are so high is because of the cost of research. And the cost of hospital visits is so high supposedly because of the cost of equipment. This current paradigm opens up the door for necessary funding from large corporate interests who have only their shareholders' financial benefit in mind, rather than the patients' health. With more independent funding, research speed will increase, and a true free market in healthcare can be established free of control by only the wealthy. So far, this technology has been used to replace bones and body parts in people, creating exoskeletons for children with congenital illnesses in order to help them walk, and it is even posited that someday people could print working human organs through cheap home devices.

Inexpensive Architecture and Artistic Design: The cost of 3D printing has theoretically gone to zero. Singularity Hub ran a recent article covering a new 3D printing app for the iPhone which opens up an array of possibilities for the average user. While still limited compared to more expensive printers, one can easily see the technology rapidly offering new means of creative expression.
In three years 3D scanners have gone from $30,000 to $3,000 to—$0.00?! AutoDesk’s free 123D Catch app is now available for the iPhone and iPad. Users can take up to 40 pictures, upload them to the cloud, and receive a digital 3D model. Simply, 123D Catch is a free handheld 3D scanner as mobile as you are. Coupled with 3D modeling software and 3D printing services, Autodesk aims to bring 3D fabrication to the masses.
If you’re an architect or manufacturer or computer animator, chances are you already know Autodesk. Their 3D modeling software AutoCad—first released way back in 1982—is near ubiquitous in the professional world. But not so much at home.
Autodesk hopes to change all that with its user-friendly, free suite of 3D modeling software.

Truly amazing is the ability to print entire buildings! Naturally this is an area being invested in by the U.S. Department of Defense to the tune of $30 million, but according to Think Defence, a British site:
The terminology often used is ‘contour crafting’ and this describes a system to treat buildings the same as manufactured parts today. That is, integrated design and production using computers and machines rather than design and artisan craftsman.
It is not completely ‘printed’ but uses 3D printing for some aspects of the build.
The video below is a TED Talk from Behrokh Khoshnevis, from the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies at the University of Southern California, supported by Caterpillar Inc.

Infrastructure Creation and Efficiency: The basic technlogy offered by the personal app for home devices is being employed in full-scale infrasctructure products such as cables and pipes, and is already beginning to offer some tantalizing benefits. Civil engineers are using a combination of sophisticated 3D laser scanning to model environments for functions such as bridge infrastructure inventories, bridge height clearance measurements, street intersection surveys, and inventories of railway crossings, just to name a few. (Source)  Once the full power of 3D printing is unleashed, we very well could see the bridges, trains, rails and surfaces themselves be created for a fraction of current costs, offering a quick way to repair decaying public infrastructure even as community budgets struggle during difficult economic times.

Less Manufacturing Pollution: Another interesting application for 3D printing aims to replace a portion of the massive amount of cement binder used in infrastructure projects with something called Stone Spray. With this application, according to Stone Spray creators, architecture can be created from soil. Utilizing a layered 3D printing technique, the core of a structure can be created with a greatly reduced amount of cement, thus cutting the need for one of the most polluting substances currently used in construction (concrete). From the concrete batch plants to urban runoff causing soil erosion, water pollution, to the inherently costly equipment used to contain and recycle concrete, and heavy metal emissions, current infrastructure creation pollutes every step of the way. (Source) This new technology offers benefits in the areas of true environmental concerns. Energy consumption is also greatly reduced, and can even be operated exclusively via solar energy, which in turn lowers overall construction project costs, both public and private. Load bearing ability is currently sufficient to produce walls, and it is expected that research projects similar to Stone Spray will increase on a much wider scale in the not-too-distant future.


Beyond the larger applications, imagine a 3D printer in every home within a few years offering easily downloadable specifications for nearly all basic objects. One could print a bowl, cup, plate, spoon or Tupperware anytime they needed a new kitchen utensils. Tools like wrenches or screwdrivers could be produced in minutes along with the screws, nuts, and bolts needed for the task. Even parts for medical equipment, power production, transportation, laboratory equipment, etc. would be one click away. There are almost too many possibilities to consider. However, with the many potential benefits of this technology, we would be remiss not to consider some of the negatives. With the current military-industrial system in place across much of the planet, this techology is already in the wrong hands and must be maintained as open source if we are to utilize this for the betterment of humanity. We will examine in an upcoming article some of these negatives to be on the alert for.

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Anonymous said...

Really incredible. I'm not sure the powers that be can actually stop something like this. Similar to the Internet, you'd have to kill the idea. Actually, the Internet seems easier to regulate and control than this does. As long as it left decentralized, we've got em on this one.

Anonymous said...

"imagine a 3d printer in every home within a few years" - making it even easier for Joe Sixpack to produce loads of unwanted crap that ends up in a landfill ;-)

Anonymous said...

^ exactly! the zeitgeist movement has known the PTB couldn't stop a revolution as this, and have been pushing for the automation of boring monotonous jobs for years. we advocate the intelligent application of technology like the 3d printer for the betterment of the human race to uplift all people everywhere. help make this become a reality and support/learn about a Resource Based Economy, Jacque Fresco, and The Zeitgeist Movement!

Anonymous said...

Was wondering that myself - does the stuff created just replace the stuff produced now. What about a runaway printer that floods the planet? Or Joe 6.

JG Vibes said...

incredible work guys, great article, great subject

Activist said...

Thanks Mr. Vibes!

Anonymous said...

Think BIG! They're already designing a mobile machine 3stories tall to print concrete homes onsite. I saw this stuff 10 yrs ago n knew it wuld be big some day.

Anonymous said...

"imagine a 3d printer in every home within a few years" - making it even easier for Joe Sixpack to produce loads of unwanted crap that ends up in a landfill ;-)"

Except that Joe Sixpack would be able to print out any crap he wanted, when he wanted it, and it wouldn't be 'crap', at least not in the sense of shoddy slave-labour dollar store stuff.

Have any of you seen a 3-D printer? They are fairly common place now. You can see one in a Hacker space, there may be a hacker space close to you. One of the first ones, called a Rep-Rap, can duplicate itself. More correctly, it can reproduce most of the parts it is made of, it still needs a human to assemble them and act as 'midwife'.

These are a 'destructive innovation'. They are replacing the factory assembly line and making them obsolete. This is really what the elite are sweating bullets about. In the near future, anyone will be able to make anything in their own homes as they need it. Okay sure, you still need the raw material to feed into the machine, but we don't need workers, stores, malls, managers, and external manufacturing anymore.

There's no need to worry about a 'runaway printer'. A 3-D printer is just like a regular 2-D printer that prints stuff off your computer.
You choose a design off the internet (such as 'Thingaverse'), hit 'print' and it starts printing it out for you. It's at a very primitive level now, basically a hot glue gun that makes hot glue gun sculptures, but in time it might be able to make things out of cloth, paper, metal, and so on.

James Lawrence said...

This is as important globally as the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century.

Anonymous said...

Hay, does anyone remember the "Replacator" from Star teck? Huh?????

mothman777 said...

The 3D printer is a long way off in terms of being able to print metal I think. A spray plastic wrench will snap in an instant if put under the typical type of duress that a real tool is expected to stand up to.

The Iranian Dr Keshe claims that his technology is what brought the American spy drone down, and he also states that he is able to prevent many disease, make anti-gravity engines for cars, spaceships, and that he can reproduce any types of matter he desires with his technology, from gold to diamonds, to food, water and air, but is stating that he does not flood the market so as to keep the world economy stable.

Apart from his claim about not wanting to flood the world economy, his ideas sound wonderful, if he is not merely trying to woo us all with some very complicated scam - as he also claims to be able to use his technology to stop any missiles attacking Iran, so he is possibly trying to bluff the US and Israel out of attacking Iran.

I hope his technology is totally genuine, as his ethics and spirituality are very good (he is not a Moslem, but a bit like a Baha'i I think).

Surely he would be doing the world a massive favour if he did in fact flood the market to render capitalism totally obsolete in truly practical terms to liberate everyone from pointless slavery, saving us from paying off 30 times the actual cost value of every house we buy due to mortgage scams (the standard western bank deals we all suffer from) and fractional reserve banking scams (that we all suffer from, but no one knows about it, except for a few who read 'alternative' news).

A good alternative would be a usury-free economy where state or community bankers act like librarians and not gamblers, and just get paid wages as a librarian does from public funds, loaning money at zero interest as a communal service.

Anonymous said...

mothman777 - in fact - printing metal is a reality already. Titanium jaws printed in 3D based on scans of a patient's existing anatomy have already been made and implanted.

"Transplant Patient Gets Titanium Jawbone Made By 3D Printer" - Huffington Post

mothman777 said...

@ Anonymous ...
Many thanks for that. It is fantastic technology, and I am glad they have it up and running so quickly, but I bet the laser printers that can melt metal and print it like that cost a great deal of money.

Anonymous said...

soon there will be no need for currency then only a pound of flesh will do.

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