Latest

Why 3D printing is the game-changing technology for the spread of democracy

From Natural News (source):  When I announced yesterday that the release of an important new invention in 2015 would be accompanied by posting downloadable 3D printer files for parts used in the invention, I was surprised to see some of the reader questions. (See that article here.) Many readers were wondering how they were going to print these 3D objects if they don’t have a 3D printer.

The answer to that question is that 3D printers are on course to become as commonplace as desktop computers today. Nearly every modern household will likely have one within a few years, and the idea of “printing out” small objects that you need around the house or office will become commonplace.

For example, instead of running to the hardware store to buy a wildly overpriced T-connector for a drip irrigation line in your back yard, you’ll simply fire up your 3D printer, select the T-connector object from a menu, and click PRINT. A few minutes later — and for about a nickel’s worth of PLA material — you’ll have your part! (You also don’t need to drive your 2,000 lb. car to the hardware store just to buy a piece of plastic that weighs a few grams.)

Dremel releases consumer-level 3D printer for just under $1000

The Dremel company has just released a consumer-friendly 3D printer that brings this technology closer to becoming a common household appliance. It’s called the Dremel 3D Idea Builder, and while I’ve never used this myself, it looks really simple and easy to operate. The object build dimensions are limited to 9″ x 6″ x 5.5″, but that’s plenty for many objects you’ll need around the home or office. (Amazon.com even sells this new 3D printer, by the way.)

Right now, this Dremel printer costs just under $1000, but just as we saw with inkjet printers in the 1990’s, mass market demand will sharply drive these costs down. Within another 2-3 years, you’ll likely see high quality consumer-friendly 3D printers available for under $500, and the library of available downloadable objects will rapidly expand.

3D printer innovator Makerbot is also aiming for mass market appeal, but I don’t recommend Makerbot because the company censors the types of objects it will allow the public to download. In 2012, Marketbot purged all gun parts from its Thingiverse library, banning the download of parts that are completely legal for people to own and use in many contexts (ranching and farming, home defense and family protection, local law enforcement, etc.).

Corporate censorship over the library of “things” available for 3D printing is exactly what we don’t want to see with this technology. We don’t want a company like Makerbot to become the “Monsanto of 3D printing” where they monopolize what ideas you can and cannot print, because we know exactly where that leads: a loss of freedom for the People and the positioning of a corporation that controls what you’re allowed to make.

If you believe in Freedom of Speech, then you have to also believe in the freedom of ideas, and that means supporting the freedom of people to download and print whatever objects they wish. Those objects might be things that some people decide are offensive to them — sexually explicit objects, gun parts, religion-specific holiday decorations, offensive art sculpture, etc. — but if we are to live in a world that respects individual freedom and self-expression, we must not turn 3D printing of certain objects into a “thought crime.”

How 3D printing can spread liberty and encourage open-source ideas

In fact, 3D printing is precisely the technology that can spread freedom and empower the People… if it is not suppressed and censored by corporations and governments first. The Austin-based group Defense Distributed — which describes itself as “nonprofit anti-monopolist digital publishing” — is best known for testing the limits of that freedom by publishing files for the world’s first downloadable, 3D printable gun. It’s not exactly a high-performance gun; it’s a fragile plastic gun that doesn’t survive very long if you actually fire it, but it’s a working pistol nonetheless.

Here’s a picture of the “Liberator Pistol” designed in part by Cody Wilson:

For those of you who have forgotten history, it was the availability of black powder muskets that allowed America’s first colonists to successfully fight a war with the world’s largest and most powerful Empire of the day: the British Empire. Using mass manufacturing technology to build rifles that the common man could pick up and use on the battlefield, the colonists decisively won a bitterly contested war of independence, giving rise to the present-day United States of America, where real history is now officially forgotten or rewritten to comply with Common Core anti-education initiatives.

Key to that military victory was the manufacturing philosophy of “mass production” for rifles — the idea that parts were standardized so that any rifle could be repaired or assembled using parts from other rifles. Mass production was a game-changing technology that made grassroots citizen uprisings possible in the 1700’s.

3D printing is a similar leap that brings a whole new wave of decentralized, non-authoritarian, grassroots manufacturing technology to the masses. With 3D printing, millions of people can quietly and privately print the objects of their choosing, without censorship or repression. (Unless you support Makerbot, the Stalinist regime of 3D printing.)

In North Korea, arguably the most abusive and anti-humanitarian government regime in the world, no ordinary citizens are allowed to own firearms. Only loyal government soldiers and secret police are allowed to own them, and that monopoly of power is used to control the population through the threat of deadly force. It is a fundamental truth that where citizens living under cruel government regimes (like North Korea) have no 2nd Amendment rights, they have no way to overthrow the evil regime that’s abusing them.

But imagine an underground movement of 3D printers in North Korea, churning out 10,000 Defense Distributed “plastic pistols” and putting them into the hands of 10,000 oppressed, destitute farmers living under tyranny and starvation. Point those 10,000 citizen soldiers toward the royal palace of the “dear leader” and you might just get a revolution that leads to real freedom and democracy for North Koreans. That’s the kind of game-changing potential 3D printing can bring to the world. It gives grassroots people the tools to produce physical objects that can dramatically improve their future, and it’s a technology that evil, corrupt governments cannot easily censor or control.

Realizing this, governments around the world — including the U.S. government — have already made determined efforts to criminalize the printing of a working firearm. But with countries like Britain now running campaigns to get people to turn in pointy kitchen knives — accompanied by a media fear mongering campaign warning the public about “knife violence” — it’s not difficult to imagine a future where governments try to criminalize the 3D printing of “anything that’s pointy” such as a letter opener.

As Jason Bourne already showed us in the movies, a person can be killed by being stabbed in the neck with a ball point pen. Will governments of the world also try to ban the 3D printing of anything shaped like a ball point pen? That’s going to be extremely difficult to enforce, if not impossible. It’s also one more reason to avoid buying a Makerbot 3D printer: Makerbot will almost certainly gladly collude with government censorship efforts, and it might even one day build logic into its devices that block the printing of “pointy shapes” that could be used as weapons.

So much for that Christmas tree star decoration you were going to print out, huh? Imagine clicking the PRINT button on your Makerbot and having a message pop up that says, “Sorry, the Obama administration does not grant you permission to print this object which might be used by domestic terrorists. Your IP address is being recorded and sent to the NSA for additional scrutiny.”

Don’t think that could happen in America? It already has in a similar form. Try to buy legal prescription drugs from a Canadian pharmacy to be shipped into the United States, and you’ll discover just how far the monopolist-fascist government will go to block your access to things it doesn’t want you to acquire through “non-controlled” channels.

The 3D printing movement is largely open-source

So far, the 3D printing movement is dominated by open-source proponents, of which I am a strong supporter. That’s why my own 3D objects for my upcoming invention to be released in 2015 will be made publicly available and freely downloadable as a way to give back to humanity and honor the “free-as-in-beer” philosophy of the open source community.

Even when I patent some of the inventions I’ll be releasing in 2015, I will simultaneously provide 3D printable plans online and grant universal permission to download and print those objects. The patent is only necessary to preempt someone else patenting it first and then denying all of us access to it. (Damn patent trolls!) So I am forced to patent these things to protect their universal availability for us all.

My 3D objects, by the way, have nothing to do with firearms or weapons. They aren’t even pointy. The objects I’ll be posting are either integral parts of my upcoming invention or accessories that enhance its functionality. This invention, which will be kept under wraps until its launch, spans the realms of health, nutrition, medicine and self-reliance. Unfortunately, the primary parts of the invention are too large to print in a 3D printer, but there are smaller parts and accessories for the system which can be readily printed even on small-format 3D printers.

Why some inventions have to be seen to be believed

I’ve been asked, by the way, why I’m keeping this invention a secret until launch day. The answer is because I need to show the finished, working system on video or no one will believe it’s real. Just explaining it in words would accomplish nothing, because most people can’t accept the fact that it will work unless they see it working first.

It’s sort of like the problem the Wright Brothers faced when the global public ridiculed their “impossible idea” of a flying machine. Only after people actually saw the rickety plane take flight were they suddenly convinced it was possible. But to those who still hadn’t seen the Wright Brothers fly, the very idea was considered a scam, and the Wright Brothers were widely condemned as frauds by the newspapers of the day. (This is a little-known forgotten fact of American history.)

All inventors who step outside the box of public expectations face this “normalcy bias barrier” where most people only think something is possible if they’ve already seen it. That’s why all of us who invent new things that shatter preconceived misconceptions must transparently demonstrate the functionality of our inventions on video in order to leave no doubt. Even better, I’ll be posting video instructions on how you can make your own and get the same functionality with your DIY system. Because part of my mission with all this is to share the DIY instructions on how you can make your own or even enhance what I’ve done and make it better!

We are all inventors!

The good news about 3D printing is that it can make inventors out of all of us! If you can imagine something and design it in CAD software, you can make it physically real through the use of a 3D printer. A process which used to require many weeks and tens of thousands of dollars is now accomplished in minutes using a $2,000 desktop 3D printer and free CAD software such as FreeCAD.

3D printers, in essence, give small businesses and independent inventors access to a product prototyping process which previously was only available to large corporations. This results in distributed, grassroots invention capabilities that give the “little guy” the ability to out-innovate the world’s largest corporations via superior ideas that become reality.

3D printing is, by definition, a disruptive technology that changes the rules of the global economy and reshuffles the playing board in favor of whoever has the best ideas. In my experience, the best ideas almost always come from the grassroots innovators, not the corporate controllers.

Object levels and the philosophy of 3D printing

I encourage you to consider acquiring a 3D printer and seeing what you can do with it. If you’re an inventor like I am, your head will be swimming with ideas for its use.

At the most basic level, 3D printers are used by people to print out small holiday decorations, cookie cutters and small art objects for their desks. But these are only “Level One” objects. They represent the most simplistic use of the technology to produce small, relatively meaningless objects.

Level Two objects are those with some small practical function, such as a replacement plastic part for a car or an accessory for an iPad. Mounting accessories for firearms also qualify as level two objects.

Level Three objects are those that fit together with moving parts (such as small pliers or hinges) and have a practical purpose. They demonstrate some mechanical interoperability, in other words.

Level Four objects are essential components of a larger functioning system with a practical purpose. The part is necessary for the system to function. For example: gears for a motorized device, pipe fittings for an irrigation system, housings for functional electronics, etc.

Level Five objects are items that can uplift humanity through grassroots empowerment. Level Five objects, succinctly stated, are “game changers” that can alter the course of human history by granting access to solutions for the really big challenges: freedom, food, water, medicine, health, security, transportation, finances and so on.

The world needs more Level Five solutions for humanity

I mention all this because I hope to see more and more people using 3D printing innovations to pursue Level Five projects that can substantially contribute to humanity’s future in a positive way. If you poke around Thingiverse.com, you’ll find that almost everything available there is a Level One or Level Two object… things like holiday decorations and small statuettes. While interesting for about two seconds, such objects don’t even come to close to exploring the full potential of 3D printing technology. That’s why I hope to inspire more people to pursue Level Five projects for humanity and then release those objects as open-source printable files to share them with the world.

I believe this so strongly, in fact, that I’m walking the talk and doing it myself first. Last Christmas, I spent most of the holiday in the ICP-MS laboratory, inventing Heavy Metals Defense and Cesium Eliminator formulas for blocking radioactive elements and heavy metals during digestion. This Christmas holiday, it looks like I’ll be spending it grinding out wood block prototypes on a CNC router and tweaking CAD designs for the additive prototyping on the 3D printer, all in preparation for an early 2015 launch of some Level Five disruptive technology that will be openly shared worldwide.

Frankly, at the risk of geeking out just a bit too much, it all sounds like tons of fun. I’ll keep you posted on the progress here at Natural News.

Here’s a photo of my Lulzbot 3D printer printing out a simple Level One object I downloaded as a test: (it’s a spinning top toy; a Level Two object…)

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/047773_3D_printing_grassroots_technology_democracy.html#ixzz3KXMC7oxv

Royce Christyn
About Royce Christyn (3467 Articles)
Documentarian, Writer, Producer, Director, Author.