3D printing is taking the world by storm. There are 3D printers that offer downloads of their own parts that you may print and then install.I have watched a 3D printer print out a monkey head today and it turned out very well. The plastic is very light and strong; you could download models of a toy and print it out for your kids to play with. The future is home manufacturing and fabrication. The printing of parts like this means that you could print out replacement parts for laptops and other devices that can crack and break. The Liberator 3D printed gun is the reason that 3D printing has bit the mainstream bullet. The news stations are having a field day talking about this gun that can fire a .380 cartridge and propel a bullet. They are believing that this weapon will be the end of humanity. What about the arming of Mexican gangs and the prolific spread of dangerous automatic weapons amongst the criminal gangs in America? They are not obeying any gun laws. The website of the Liberator pistol is here: http://defcad.org/liberator/. But this is not available anymore due to the American government cracking down on the weapon. But if you search on The Pirate Bay; you may find AR15 Lower Receivers and the Liberator pistol files for download. A plastic gun can get through metal detectors; but the Transport Safety Authority might be able to use their 3D body scanners to find the weapon upon your person.
But the 3D scanners should not be banned outright due to the actions of a person that designed this weapon. The printers are too useful to be disregarded as a terrorist weapon. The ability to create a 3D model in 3D Studio Max or Blender and then export to a 3D printer file is awesome. The printer lays down an initial layer of plastic onto a perforated plastic sheet and then it builds up the model with a lot of plastic pillars that support the model when it is built up above. It took 2 hours to print a relatively sized monkey head; but this is getting us closer and closer to the replicator technology seen in Star Trek. The ability to print in color means that you can print out toys and other useful items with a different color for each part. There is already technology that uses a laser beam and sintering to 3D print metal. Read more about this here: http://gpiprototype.com/services/metal-3d-printing.html. This can be used to manufacture replacement parts and is a good counterpart to the plastic 3D printing capability that the public is enjoying. But it would not be affordable for a home user to deploy this kind of technology. Manufacturing new car parts could be done with this technology but it is arguable whether this would be a good thing. It would be cheaper to just go out and buy a new part.
I am not saying that this is a bad idea though. This is incredible. The ability to create a model in software of a game monster and then print out a metal statue of it would be a very cool thing indeed. This company takes orders and will print out parts for customers. This uses metal power that is spread out on a flat surface and then this is melted to build up the model. This obviously uses higher temperatures than the 300 – 400 degrees Celsius that the plastic melting printers use; but this would make strong metal parts. The future looks bright when any home user with the right knowledge and skill can make their own parts in their living room.