Thursday, 26 July 2012

3D Printing file share your illegal weapon downloads



In a ever changing world the use of 3D printers may increase in numbers, Rep rap machines have been around since 2007, their ugly designs of miniature scaffolds without the buildings have been exclusive to Boffins, engineering students and nerds. Though intentionally open sourced the complex range of components and software has been exclusive, for people who can under stand this level of mechanical, electronic and software engineering.
At the heart of the of RepRap is a thermoplastic extruder, early attempts at controlling the plastic flow to the extruder was to us a Dc motor which proved inaccurate. The stepper motor allowed precision timing for the drive assembly to give the right amount of plastic to the area for printing. The whole complex operation requires full knowledge of X,Y and Z axis. RepRap's electronics based on the popular Arduino mini micro processor board platform. with additional boards to control the stepper motors. The current version uses an Arduino derived Sanguino motherboard, this architecture allows expansion to additional controls.



There are many different versions 3D printer Cubify came to light at CES 2012. Also Makerbot, which is similar to the Darwin or Mendal models of RepRap designs. Though Makerbot uses laser cut milled parts  that encases the printer into a more acceptable appearance. Makerbot's website, sells small accessories and electronic kits as well as replacement parts and printers fully assembled. This seems limited as the number of makerbot projects listed are 5 in total. Compared to Cubify's website which has a small library of files to download similar to itunes store, where each item has a small fee. the website encourages a small community to design their own products to add to the library.
Despite the online community of RepRap and Cubify's efforts of its 3D printing library, there seems to little in the way of obtaining 3D designs to download and print. Until recently Pirate bay has been a file sharing company that allows the simple sharing of mp3 and movie files, which have been controversial due to the copyright restrictions of music and film studios. Pirate bay has now added a new torrent category Physibles, which is the 3D printer plans or possibly the STL files of any virtual model to be made real by a printer. 
This will open up a new area of file sharing physical items such as toys machine parts or other peoples designs. Hopefully the use of 3D printing will eliminate the need to buy most toys from the shops, or cheap items from china. In a ideal world this will be the end of expensive packaging for toys and simple gadget products too.
There is a danger to this type of illegal downloads as it will be very easy to manufacture 3D prints of gun parts to be made as a untraceable weapon. "Haveblue" documented in a blog post that using a Stratasys 3D printer to craft the parts to a .22 pistol and fired 200 rounds with it. He also tried to assemble parts for a .223 AR-15 rile which didn't work, though it was down to the compatibility of actual gun parts and the lower receiver 3D print.

3D printing has yet to be popular.  Sales have increased and will eventually lower in price, which will probably turn the manufacturing industry on its head. Though 3D prints are not easily available, people will be turning to the internet, Pirate bay in particular for free designs. Examples in 3D print designs include clothing, shoes, toys, musical instruments and now lethal Guns. Considering that the possibilities of 3D printing can be limitless. There is a slight possibility that this new technology will be used for evil purposes.




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