• Red & Black Staff

3D Printing: What can it do?

3D printing, being relatively new, can be confusing and expensive. 3D printing is the “process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file,” according to 3dprinting.com. A 3D printer heats up plastics and uses it to make a model saved from a file from a computer that is connected to the printer.

For a small 3D printer the average cost can be $200-$300, while a higher-quality model can cost upwards of $1,000. 3D printing, however, is not just for making items you want like toys and pendants; it can also save or destroy a life.

Just recently, as of Sept. 25, 2018, the company Adeiss teamed up with veterinarians to 3D print a piece of a skull for a dog with a tumor growing on its skull. The team also 3D printed the scan of the skull with the tumor on it to practice before the surgery. The surgeon, Dr. Oblak, said that she “‘was able to do the surgery before [she] even walked into the operating room,’” according to CNN. CNN also reported that “Doctors have used 3D printing in humans for purposes like reconstructing jawbones and vertebrae, and 3D models have also been used to plan for major surgeries.”

3D printing isn’t only used for saving lives; it can also be used to kill. Online you can find the model blueprints for a gun, print it, and it could be used like the real thing. They may be slightly more flimsy but they are untraceable, undetectable by metal detectors, and don’t even require background checks. The downside is for a capable

3D printer, you would need a few hundred-thousand dollars, and if you use a cheaper printer the gun may explode in your hands. According to USA Today it is "more conceivable to use a 3D printer for accessories, such as magazines and gun stocks, rather than an entire weapon.”

According to the Guardian, “if you’re thinking about making a gun for criminal intent, you’ll need to find a machine and go about it in a secretive way.” That is exactly what the “Lion King” Broadway show puppet-specialist Ilya Vett did. Mr. Vett was arrested for 3D printing a gun for his cousin. The police contacted Disney, and now Mr. Vett is no longer a Disney employee. He was arrested because there is a law in New York stating that a license is needed to 3D print weapons.