The Pros And Cons Of 3D Printing

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3D printing technologies have greatly influenced the advancement of military-related technologies. As 3D printing technologies continue to improve, the complexity of objects that can be produced has been advancing at an unprecedented rate. This has resulted in reduced cost and time required in prototyping as well as in the manufacturing of weapons systems. With 3D printing technology, newer prototyping techniques that are more efficient are now available and thus, the time required to develop new technologies is substantially reduced.
Progressions in 3D printing technology have been coupled with increased accessibility of the technology to the public. With 3D printers, members of the public are now able to design and construct almost anything in the privacy and convenience of their own homes. This has raised several ethical implications as the layperson who owns a 3D printer can simply download Computer-Aided Design (CAD) files (file type used by 3D printers) and print regulated objects such as weapons and firearms. This
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Improvements in 3D printing technologies, coupled with the proliferation of domestic 3D printers, have allowed the public to print almost anything, including firearms. In 2013, the blueprint for the world’s first fully 3D-printable gun, The Liberator, was uploaded and within two days, the CAD file received 100,000 downloads (Greenburg, 2013). Hence, it is evident that the ease of spreading CAD files poses significant challenges to the ethics of 3D printing, as it provides a convenient way for 3D printer owners to print lethal weapons and firearms in the privacy of their homes. This violates Rule – Utilitarian ethics from the perspective of the public, as existing laws against firearms trafficking and possession might be violated. For example, according to the Arms Offences Act (2008), it is illegal to possess and traffic arms in
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