Progressives and the threat of 3D printers


Years ago, the first printers were dot-matrix monsters that sounded like a machine gun and ate boxes of form-fed paper. Later came inkjet, thermal, laser, multi-purpose printers, all-in-one copiers, scanners and FAX machines. These amazing devices became faster, cheaper, more reliable and suddenly, deadlier.

In 1983, the concept of stereolithography (creating three dimensional objects from computer files) came to life when Chuck Hull, focused a beam of ultraviolet light into a jar filled with a liquid photopolymer. As the computer-controlled beam struck the liquid it “cross linked” the molecules, microscopically changing them into a thin strand and, as layers were added, a surface. The formation of that plastic filament is recognized as the Kitty-Hawk-moment when 3D printing took flight.

Mr. Hull was a 2014 inductee into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and is currently the CEO of 3D Systems Corporation. The technology he launched has been used to create thousands of prototypes, aeronautical designs, musical instruments, clothing, tools, homes, food and toys. In 1999, scaffolding for body parts were successfully implanted at Wake Forest University by urologist, Dr. Anthony Atala, becoming the world’s first 3D bio-printed, fully functional human bladder.

I’ve learned the hard way that bleeding-edge technology is expensive. In 1989 I fell deeply in love with a new-fangled Apple LaserWriter NTX (300 DPI, non-color) printer. That affair cost me $999 and ended 3 years later at the Salvation Army. First-generation medical/industrial 3D printers were no different, ranging between $250k to $3M, with primitive home-versions available for around $10K. According to AllThat3D(.)com, some the best “home” 3D printers can now be purchased for under $600.

The disturbing news about 3D printers is precisely that they’re now very cheap, readily available and are, potentially, just as deadly as the infamous Saturday Night Special. These are not your grandpa’s printers. They are capable of generating everything from sex toys and banned Confederate statues, to EBW detonators, chimney sleeves, neutron reflectors, cone-shaped tamper spheres and timing-device casings… components necessary to build, not just an aorta, femur or skull plate, but a nuclear weapon.

3-D printer

Photo credit: Peabodybore CC BY-1.0 public domain license

There are college groups petitioning university presidents and chancellors to ban the use of 3D printers on campus. Anonymous sources indicate that right-wing extremist cults (Trumpsters) are using 3D printers to reconstruct or replace religious symbols and statues destroyed during the January 6th insurrection. Unfortunately, “banning” access to things (alcohol/drugs/prostitution/guns/hateful literature) doesn’t necessarily keep them out of the wrong hands. Worldwide black markets on street corners and the Internet, guarantee that any fraternity (or cult) with $600 will still be able to purchase a 3D printer and start building an arsenal. Vendors with illegal products or services, whether Amazon, MS13, Tender, disgruntled Russian Generals, political zealots or Wall Street insiders, always manage to find a buyer. One company in Texas (of course) makes an ominous-looking solid black 3D printer, easily qualifying it as an assault printer. Few investigative reporters realize that millions of Poly80, ghost guns, non-metallic daggers and exploding sex toys are already being printed in attics and garages across America. In other words, it may be too late to prevent the spread of unregistered firearms.

Never tired of trying to catch smoke, bureaucrats are eager to make things better or safer by conjuring up the “Good Idea Fairy.” Here are some suggestions from “the edge” we hope will produce a nervous chuckle or a gasp of common sense.

Our organization offers the following suggestions to restrict, prohibit, control, and regulate the spread, and nefarious use, of potentially lethal 3D printers:

1. A series of public services messages to parents warning of 3D danger.

2. Mandatory background checks before purchasing any 3D printer.

3. Professional mental evaluations linking “terrorist-printer” tendencies.

4. Polygraph testing to determine buyer’s intentions of creating a 3D “pressure cooker”.

5. Neighborhood consent and lockdown before a 3D printer is delivered.

6. Prohibiting 3D use by juvenile males (14-19) living in Atlanta, LA or Chicago.

7. A 1000% “dangerous object” tax on all companies manufacturing 3D devices.

8. Felony charges for family members failing to report “suspicious” printing.

9. 1-800 number or those forced to watch or engage in 3D printing.

Google Security Monitors (SM) and Truth Investigators (TI) will be responsible purging dangerous websites/data/books/video/e-mails and Tweets. SM and TI agents should be authorized to use deadly force in order to preserve international safety and promote tolerance. It’s important to identify and re-educate unstable individuals conducting suspicious web searches, distributing, endorsing, tolerating and buying (or selling) dangerous information including, but not limited to:

1. How to print a 3D gun 

2. Where to purchase a copy of “The Gun Printer’s Guide to Free Thinking

3. Clicking any of 532,000 sites with free copies of “The Anarchist’s Cookbook

4. How to print a polymer knife, sword or toothpick.

5. Where to purchase sulphur, charcoal and nitrogen fertilizer.

6. Visiting websites offering FREE PDF copies of “Henley’s Book of Formulas

7. Incendiary documentaries--  “Created Equal” by Justice Clarence Thomas

8. Reading banned books-- When Harry Became Sally

9. Training Roosters To Kill using a plastic knife (or fork) from a 3D printer

In addition, the Google SM & TI Teams must have the ability to instantly remove or modify all publications, PDF’s, containing references, or historical links to; 3D printers, atomic weapons, improvised explosive devices, home defense, gunpowder, Vyacheslav Molotov, survivalist schools, racism, white supremacy, ambush techniques, insurrectionist movements, unclean thoughts and violent science fiction novels.

Cautiously revealing potentially dangerous knowledge found online and the unintended consequences secretly embedded inside deadly 3D printers.

Dale Lowdermilk is the Founder of NOTSAFE(.)ORG, Santa Barbara, CA  USA

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