May 11, 2013
The 3D printing revolution has arrived, and it’s freaking out governments around the world because distributed, non-centralized fabrication technology threatens their monopolistic controls over physical objects. For a few thousand dollars, anyone can purchase a 3D printer (an “additive” desktop fabrication device) and print out physical objects using ABS plastic. (See list of manufacturers, below.) 3D plans are freely available to download online, and the printers are on the verge of flooding into the marketplace with a wide range of affordable, easy to use models from a large number of manufacturers.
Being able to print your own objects sounds amazing to the average citizen. Need a hose mender for your garden hose? Don’t drive to Home Depot to get it — just print it! Need a replacement part for your child’s toy? Just design it in 3D software and print it! Any object you can imagine can be printed in ABS plastic, including complex gears and objects with intricate details. Many printers can print in multiple colors, too.
Cody Wilson from Defense Distributed famously designed and tested a printable gun that fires a single round of .380 auto ammo. Pistols, it turns out, aren’t that complicated. They essentially need nothing more than a trigger, a firing pin, a chamber to hold the round and a barrel to allow it to accelerate out when fired. Wilson’s innovation was making a gun work out of plastic.
Once he accomplished that, the U.S. government freaked out and sent him a threatening letter that forced him to remove all the 3D designs from his website. He complied, but not before the gun was downloaded over 100,000 times. It now appears on The Pirate Bay — just search for “DefDist Defcad Liberator” and you’ll easily find it available for download via bittorrent.
In fact, at this point it’s laughable that the U.S. government is trying to restrict the information from “export.” Information travels at the speed of light, and within seconds of the plans being posted on the Defcad website, they were already spreading across the globe.
And that’s my point in all this: Governments cannot stop the flow of information, and because information now equals objects (thanks to 3D printing), governments cannot stop the sharing of physical objects.
Defcad, by the way, could be back online and fully compliant with ITAR by simply restricting their downloads to U.S. IP addresses and making downloaders check a checkbox that says they will not export the files. This would get ITAR off their backs, but it’s probably only a matter of time before another government department would come after them for a different reason.
Governments have always tried to stop citizens from having access to certain objects
Thousands of years ago, citizens of many nations were barred from owning swords. Those were the assault weapons of the time, and governments were adamant about keeping them out of the hands of people they couldn’t control.
In ancient China, citizens were denied the ownership of knives. This is how chopsticks came into being — the emperor of the day said, “No knives! Eat with sticks!” (This is not an urban legend. There is actual truth to it.)
Today, the U.S. government is trying to monopolize the possession of firearms for all the same reasons: It centralizes control into the hands of the ruling class while keeping the citizens defenseless and easy to control. (Is this not obvious?)
3D printing is going to change all this. Distributed 3D printing is the anti-monopoly technology. It is anti-patent. It is true open source. This horrifies all the control freaks in government who can’t stand not having iron-fisted monopoly control over everything in sight. It is even freaks out a few people who claimed to be “open source” but not suddenly they’re against open source when it means sharing blueprints for 3D objects such as pistols.
Defcad is leading the way in all this. They are re-launching soon as the 3D design search engine. Through Defcad, you’ll be able to search for downloadable 3D designs for anything you can imagine — from a kitchen spatula to a Christmas decoration or a child’s toy. You’ll be able to download small parts for all kinds of objects, including firearms and their accessories.
Sign up to be alerted at www.Defcad.com
A flood of 3D printers now entering the market
By the way, in all this, the 3D printing company “Makerbot” is widely known to be the Monsanto of the maker community. Pure evil. They want to restrict what objects you can print, and they are colluding with oppressive forces to make sure nobody uses their product (the Makerbot) to print 3D objects the company doesn’t like (or doesn’t want you to have). So don’t bother buying a Makerbot. It’s the George Orwell version of 3D printers. Makerbot = Orwellian censorship.
There are far better printers to buy: open source 3D printers that don’t restrict what you can print. Check out RepRap, Tantillus, Leapfrog, 3Dtouch or the highly-rated Ultimaker printers. The newest entry in this category is the FormLabs printer, which looks to be the highest resolution 3D printer yet offered at consumer-level prices.
On the commercial side for higher-end projects, 3D printers are available from companies like Cubify, Stratasys, EnvisionTec, Solido, Asiga and even the Arcam which builds 3D models out of metal, not just ABS plastic. Exone also prints objects out of metal.
This field is rapidly accelerating and the materials science is steadily improving. We are witnessing an explosion of innovation in 3D printing, and within a decade, all of us will probably own desktop 3D printers in the same way we now own PCs.
Huge economic implications
The economic implications of all this are absolutely huge — far beyond the mere idea of printing a gun.
Consider the role of big box stores like Home Depot and Wal-Mart. These stores are largely in the business of selling you small objects that could be easily printed at home, especially once metal printers become more affordable. How many times have you made a run to a hardware store like Ace or Lowe’s to buy a fitting, or a bolt, or a tool? In the near future you’ll be able to print your tools at home.
The implications are enormous, especially for countries like China which specialize in making all the same stuff you’ll soon be able to print yourself. Obviously, you can’t print complex devices like electronics devices and TV screens, but you will be able to print an enormous array of objects requiring minimal at-home assembly. Many objects require no assembly whatsoever: knives, fish hooks, sewing needles, etc. With the right materials, you can even print metal pins and springs, both of which are critical components in firearms and other mechanical devices, including car parts.
Why governments hate 3D printing
Governments hate this. The very idea of citizens creating their own objects runs completely counter to the core philosophy of government which is oppression, control, monopolization and the crushing of freedom. Right now, physical objects are quite effectively controlled by governments because physical objects are relatively easy to restrict. But restricting information is much, much harder, and with the rise of 3D printing, information can be turned into physical objects relatively easily.
So governments that can’t control information (data) won’t be able to control physical objects anymore. That’s why 3D printing is revolutionary.
Cody Wilson gets this. He understands that all over the world, people are suffering under oppressive regimes that could possibly be overthrown by a million citizens armed with 3D printed guns. Decentralized technology is liberating, and that’s why he named his first printable gun the “Liberator.” This is about empowering the 99% and taking the monopoly of power away from evil, corrupt governments that rule by force while keeping their populations enslaved.
3D printing is a technology of liberty, and its rise is now unstoppable. The control freaks in Washington will, of course, try to ban certain types of data or criminalize certain types of CAD plans (i.e. criminalizing data), but their efforts will be useless. They are obsolete. 3D printing turns information into physical reality, and information is ridiculously easy to smuggle anywhere at the speed of light.
This is why 3D printing is a technology of freedom, and anyone who wants the people to be free from corporate or government oppression should get behind 3D printing and support this growing industry.
Looking for suggestions on which 3D printer is best
On a personal note, I am currently setting up an experimental lab area where I’ll be toying with 3D printing, but I haven’t decided which 3D printer to use yet. I do plan to write about it and show videos, and I even hope to use 3D printing to help fabricate parts to be used in my aquaponic systems that are already under way (growing food and fish in a closed-loop system).
I don’t yet know which 3D printer to acquire for this purpose, so if any Natural News readers have suggestions on which 3D printer I should look into, you can let me know through our news tips page: