I saw an older article on TheRegister.co.uk about Pirate Bay having 3D printer files. The article and the comments are enthusiastic. Actually just about every article you see on 3D printing is overflowing with excitement. Reality hasn’t happened yet so we can all dream.
I also relish the idea of being able to knock out parts to repair things but with this article (perhaps it is the ‘flu I have) I had the strangest of thoughts that cascaded around,
We know about how Inkjet printers cost a few dollars but the cartridges cost 10x that amount and how the printer manufacturers fight the re-fillers with chipped OEM cartridges ? Well I envisage 3D printers using the same model of low-cost printer but chipped feedstock containers. Just as printer ink can cost more than the tears of the Unicorns that dance in the moonlight of an enchanted forest so I expect to see feedstock of such cheap material as aluminium and ceramic powders that will cost more than semi-precious gems or silver and gold.
As the general public we know of counterfeit bags and other branded items which the logo is the most important part ? You can easily avoid these if you have no need to buy luxury-brand goods and it is not going to really kill you if you accidentally do get one. Well this counterfeit problem is now going to extend to a vast range of OEM parts such as car, boat, bike and household appliance spare parts. These could cause you injuries.
There has always been a problem with high priced items like aircraft parts but these should be detected as the supply chain has an established ability to track items from source to destination. But other industries do not have that papertrail.
3D printing will cause emergent behaviours in our social systems and we won’t have a clue what will hit us. until it happens. You just have to be prepared to adapt and evolve.