Freedom to design nearly anything your imagination dreams up does not mean that you are immune to consequences from your design. While 3D printers give you enormous freedom in design, some designs may be better left in the imagination and not made dimensional.
The issue of consequence is rarely mentioned in 3D printing discussions. Instead, the rush is on to push the boundaries just to see how far we can go. Just where do judgement and discernment come in? Where do we draw the lines? Once Pandora has been released, how do you put her back in her box?
The Wiki Weapon Project continues its pursuit of printing gun parts. Why? Just to prove it can be done? What are, and could be, the consequences of this research? Answer this question in light of the tragic events of Dec 14 in Connecticut.
Is the 3D printing of drugs a good idea? The use of 3D printing to prototype a new drug, simulating the chemical structure for example, is a great idea. Actually printing the drug–that should be questioned. How do you guarantee the efficacy of the drug? Please inform the FDA, I’m sure they are very curious. How do you guarantee that said 3D printed drug will perform as you intend; how do you plan to control all the variables Pharmaceutical firms must control during drug manufacture? What could the consequences potentially be? What if the 3D printed drug kills rather than cures?
The rush to be first has consequences. Which is one reason science and engineering research has traditionally preferred to be accurate rather than first.