3D Printing: The Future is Here

Dec 27, 2012

A group is working to download a gun's design and build it on a 3-D printer. And 3-D printing is positioned to become the next consumer craze - Capital Region Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Scanning a Stradivarius to a computer file that will be used to make a 3-Dimensional copy.
Credit 3DEA

It's the nearest thing to those old teleporters you've seen in science fiction movies and television shows for the past 50 years - push a few buttons and a three-dimensional object emerges from a microwave oven-sized appliance.

Pete DiLaura is the owner of CAD Dimensions, a 3-D engineering software and systems reseller with outlets in Albany Syracuse Rochester and Buffalo - DiLaura says the fact consumers are already computer-literate paves the way for home use

Kids as young as 16 have been flocking to 3DEA --- a printing store in New York City - it's one of those newfangled "pop up" stores - the kind that set up shop out of nowhere - last several days or weeks, then the store is vacant again - 3DEA's Lily Su says you can come by - design and print your own 3D items -

There's a dark side to the excitement being generated by the new technology: A group called Defense Distributed is claiming to have created downloadable weapon parts that can be built using these advanced printers that create 3-D objects with moving parts out of plastic and other materials. There wouldn't be any background checks for such a gun and that prospect is disquieting to gun control advocates.

New York Congressman Steve Israel notes that Bushmaster AR-15 assault rifles were used in the recent Newtown and Rochester shootings. "Wiki Weapons" project leader Cody Wilson claims the group last month test fired a semiautomatic rifle built with some 3-D printer parts six times before it broke. Wilson did not respond to requests for comment.

Israel says that the possibility that guns could be assembled through the 3-D printing process is why he has introduced legislation to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act. The law expires at the end of 2013 - Israel wants it extended for at least ten years

Back at 3DEA, Lily Su says people have come in and, for a nominal fee, created their own bracelet charms, toy action figures and 3-D artistry - Su says the concept store will remain open at least through February.