Contest: design peaceful uses for 3D printers

Bas writes,

3D printing is being condemned in the media because of the potential for printing guns. Engineers at Michigan Tech believe there is far more potential for 3D printers to make our lives better rather than killing one another. To encourage thinking about constructive uses of 3D printing technology Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) Lab and Type A Machines is proud to sponsor the first 3-D Printers for Peace Contest.

A fully assembled Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer goes to first place and a MOST RepRap 3D printer kit will go to the second prize winner who create designs that enable 3D printers to encourage peace. Winning open-source designs will discourage conflict (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity or designs that improve economic development -- see examples and pictures). Designers are encouraged to consider: If Mother Theresa of Ghandi had access to 3D printing what would they print? What kind of designs could help reduce military spending and conflict while making us all safer and more secure?

Michigan Tech has already saved tens of thousands of dollars using 3D printable scientific and engineering equipment and our labs have developed 3D printable tools to test water quality, recycle waste plastic and found that 3D printing consumer goods is better for the environment than shipping conventional goods from China. Jo

Anyone in the United States may enter and there is no cost to enter. Here's the guidelines. Deadline for submitting entries: September 1, 2013

Michigan Tech Launches 3D Printers for Peace Contest

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  1. Surely there are far cheaper ways of killing people than messing around with 3D Printing. The gardening and DIY sections are always provide a good selection of tools for the job.

    1. Apparently the same people who can’t spell Gandhi correctly.

      The Father of Lies has done his work well.


  2. Not good enough? Want to focus on the shitty dueling pistol that requires mass produced ammunition (purchased separately!) to (barely) operate?
    Wanker’s just lucky he didn’t make a Bowie Knife… those are illegal in Texas…

  3. Because of territoriality, I cannot enter the contest.I’d go for modular, easily scalable water purification filters.

    Or mesh-type “glasses” for shortsighted people, with the meshes tuned to different severities of shortsightedness. 

    1.  I was thinking the same, some kind of water-handling equipment.  A centrifugal water filter would probably be easy to print (though it wouldn’t do anything more useful than removing large junk like sand).  Pump parts?  Drip irrigation fittings?  It would probably be easy to print a ram pump.  But all these ideas require water pipe or hose, perhaps not available.

      1. all these ideas require water pipe or hose, perhaps not available.
         Then print that too.

  4. Media Frenzy, who needs it? While rapid prototyping and 3D printing add to the ways a gun can be made, anyone can produce a working gun, including assault rifles,  using simple machine tools or even hand tools. 

    1.  Like any other tool in production this requires each producer to have a certain set of skills. The 3D printer requires skilled people only for the designing part, the moment something is designed the only things required for production are power and the materials.

    2. Not anyone — anyone who already knows how to use the tools and/or machine tools to produce a working gun.  That is a very small proportion of people.  On the other hand, the proportion of people who can click a “print” button on a computer connected to a 3D printer is rather large.

      1. Since the Second Amendment of the Constitution guarantees an American’s right to bear arms, that’s a huge plus. 
          

        1. Not interested in circular arguments about “right to bear arms”.  Legal rights are not metaphysical principles, they’re just words on paper. “It’s morally right to bear arms because it says so on a piece of paper” just doesn’t follow. (Which is not the same as an argument that it’s immoral — just pointing out the fact that we do have the right does not imply that we should have the right.)  All I’m doing is  pointing out that IslandBased’s comment completely elides everything that is interesting or significant about 3D printed guns.

      2. Or, they could drive down to Walmart and pick one up for much less than the cost of a 3D printer.

        1.  While true that also elides everything that is interesting or significant about 3D printed guns.

          1. Well, that’s my point.  I don’t think there is anything interesting or significant about them.

          2. You’re not making a very good argument for that.
            1. Pretty much everything that’s ever been 3D printed is available in some higher-quality form in a store.  Does it follow that there’s nothing significant or interesting about 3D printing in general?
            2. Some people — children and violent felons — are not supposed to be able to purchase guns down at Walmart.  Isn’t there something interesting or significant about these developments in that light?
            2b. Many countries have more stringent restrictions on gun ownership but not necessarily on 3D printer ownership.  Isn’t the conflict between laws and manufacturing capabilities in some sense significant and/or interesting?

            If it’s not interesting to you why are you even commenting about it?  Are you trying to convince people who do think it’s interesting and/or significant that they’re wrong?  Do you expect this approach will actually accomplish your goals?

  5. At the end of the day Defense Distributed’s printable firearm should win this competition, as it is so badly designed that it is just as likely to kill the person standing behind it as the person in front of it. he didn’t even orient the files in the correct position for optimal printing. pure amateur hour 3D model design. should have stayed in school son.

  6. There’s some quip about every technological breakthrough is somehow immediately applied to sex.   Where are all the 3D printer projects devoted to “make love not war”?

    1. Like any other tool in production this requires each producer to have a certain set of skills. The 3D printer requires skilled people only for the designing part, the moment something is designed the only things required for production are power and the materials.

    2. I think 3D files for dildos, vibrators, butt-plugs, beads and other stuff would far exceed downloads for crappy guns.

      Imagine the fun, presenting dildos custom made to, I dunno, whoever, embossed with your face, or theirs, or Rand Paul? Fabulous gift ideas abound!

      1.  scan the lover’s parts (allow for any subtle editing) and then “for when your lover is away…”  (the advert copy writes itself!)

  7. 3D printed guns are pure gimmick.

    “3D printing is being condemned in the media…”  That’s a bit hyperbolic.  A more sane statement would be something along the lines of, “3D printing has recently received some negative coverage.”

  8. Why does it have to be MY state that does ridiculous shit like this? I’d venture to say that by my (purely made-up, bullshit) estimate, 99.999% of everything made on 3D Printers are already of a peaceful nature. Sure, this guy made a one shot pistol that MIGHT not explode your hand off but, as was said up-thread, anyone with knowledge of metal working can make a gun that is usable for much more than that one shot. If you don’t have the knowledge, go to a library or look it up online. It’s not like it’s a secret set of instructions.

    Sometimes Michigan does some of the most stupid shit imaginable.

    1.  But, but, don’t you understand? These guns are available to anyone who can click a button!

      And have a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for a 3D printer.
      And can still purchase ammunition legally.
      And who are mysteriously smart enough to navigate a computer yet are at the same time too stupid to operate a drill or something as simple as a hammer or a hacksaw and are also unable to read the printed word, understand basic drawn diagrams or look things up on the internet using that very same computer.
      And who can also set up and operate a 3D printer, a device that most people don’t even have a passing acquaintance with, while still possessing all of the above-mentioned mental/physical/technical limitations.

      The longer this goes on, the more I think that the entire concept of the “Liberator” was just an elaborate troll to provoke an 80’s-era “Satanists are EVERYWHERE!”-style moral panic among certain folks. And if it wasn’t intended that way, it’s doing a better job at that than it is at producing a viable firearm.

      1. yet are at the same time too stupid to operate a dril
        Or simply, like me, have bad hand-eye coordination, or never had the chance to learn how to use them properly.

        PS. Doesn’t the production of a gun also require a lathe?

  9. The problem is that the Media needs Fear to tell a good story. Guns = Fear, so the story writes itself! No amount of peaceful uses will get Media attention – unless there’s an element of Fear that trumps guns… (Maybe a Dildo that will make men gay?)

    Reminds me of the Media hysterics when someone claimed they’d made ‘downloadable drugs’ in the form of binaural MP3s (i-dosing)… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10668480

    1. BoingBoing is on the case: http://boingboing.net/2013/05/23/3d-printed-bio-absorbable-spli.html

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