[Discuss] public files vs export control laws

Joshua Pearce professor.pearce at gmail.com
Mon May 13 01:07:45 UTC 2013


I share you concern that open source digital fabrication and 3D printing
are extremely vulnerable now despite having so much promise to make life
better for most people - primarily because they are so potentially
disruptive to hosts of manufacturers and will upset the standard
relationship between corporations and consumers.

If the terms of the debate are set as 3D printers make guns, un-regulated
unsafe products, etc. And there are only a few major disasters (3d printed
gun used in an assassination, 3D printed reactionware creates a new crack
like drug, a few kids die eating parts of toys printed off of thingiverse
etc.) - at least in the U.S. this technology could actually be buried.

I think you are right we really need to focus on educating the public on
the positive potential of the technology. We tried with a small open design
contest to win free 3D printers for "3D printing for peace"... to
counteract the calls for out right bans for 3D printing in the gun printing
hysteria -- http://www.mtu.edu/materials/printersforpeace/
..but that is a drop in the bucket and as you might guess is not going to
make the major media. Everyone really needs to chip in to get the word out
with concrete examples and the bigger players on this list need to get into
the major media from which public perception is guided.

-- Joshua

> The debate I am more concerned with is the nacient but growing one around
> digital fabrication and 3D printing. It is important to show that 3D
> printing's disruptive potential is not limited to producing tools of
> violence. There will soon be regulation in this area, and its important to
> set the contours of debate now while they are still fluid, rather than have
> to deal with inhospitable framing and miss-educated public when it comes
> time to actually fighting for good regulation.
> Wow, I thought that when I decided to become a maker and quit working for
> Democrats I would get to leave all my political hackery behind me... But we
> are reaching a point where politics is going to find us whether we like it
> or not.
> K9

Joshua M. Pearce, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Michigan Technological University
601 M&M Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931-1295
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