The Incredible 3D-Printing’s Dark Side

The incredible 3D-printing technology has its dark side, as attested to by this latest news about some materials used can be toxic.

The Environmental Science and Technology Letters journal has published the results of tests carried out by a group of researchers from the University of California, Riverside, under the title “Assessing and Reducing the Toxicity of 3D-Printed Parts,” an article on RT says. Interest in the safety of materials used in 3D printing was sparked in 2014, when Shirin Oskui, a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside, used a 3D printed part in her study of zebrafish embryos that subsequently died.

In fact, this is not the first time that the dark side of the technology has been exposed. Last year, some reports showed that while 3d-printing offers amazing benefits, it has the potential to be abused by unscrupulous individuals/companies.

A 3D-printed gun

Image Source

As the following report shows, there are at least two potential negative impact of 3D-printing.
But $100 billion, or more, in losses to license and intellectual property owners, and the legitimate manufacturers that produce licensed items, is enough to put some companies out of business. 3D printing is poised to change the business community forever. Unfortunately, it’s also going to change the black market for knock-offs and counterfeits, too, and not for the better. – Read more at:

“…The problem for public safety arises when these types of assault weapons, or worse weapons that are undetectable to airline scanners, can be sustainably and reliably created using in-home 3D printers. The machines that may have the capability to produce these type of weapons currently retail for over $10,000, while less complex machines fall in the $2,000-$4,000 range. – Read more at:

Yet, these should not deter anyone from appreciating and promoting the advancement of 3D-printing technologies. One field wherein 3D-printing is making its way as a disruptive technology is education.

Until relatively recently, a 3D printer was a high-end tool for use primarily by engineers and architects but with the advent of 3D printers for the consumer market, students and teachers in the school, college and university sectors can now utilize the making of things as a pedagogical tool for both learning how to use this technology as well as using the objects made by 3D printers for learning in many disciplines. One can sense a pedagogical shift away from always thinking about things in the virtual world to working with and designing things for the real world that can be touched supporting a way of learning not possible when objects only exist in the virtual world. The real world existence of an object that can be sensed by touch opens new avenues of learning for all students but especially for those who are blind or visually impaired. One might compare this time in the introduction of 3D printers to the early 1980′s when desktop computers were first being made available and affordable to the consumer market. Think of all the new opportunities for learning and teaching that have emerged from those days to the present and ask if that is also what we can expect for the impact of 3D printing in our future. -  Read more at:

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