Alright, 3-D printing.

For those of you that are not aware, 3-D printing  is a cool technology that “prints” physical objects, usually one layer at a time. This tech has the potential to be highly disruptive for a number of reasons. For example: it moves the means of production closer to the consumer, has many implications for supply and distribution, and allows for an enormous degree of individual customization of the finished product.

Sadly, as awesome as 3-D printing could be, it has thus far been hampered by both patents and copyrights.

The idea of 3-D printing is not particularly new, and a great many number of patents have been granted for various aspects. This creates something of a minefield for anyone that wishes to become involved in the field. Fortunately, more than a few supposedly key patents will be expiring soon which should help make things easier for start-ups.

The copyright aspect however looks to be slightly murkier. You are aware of course how badly the RIAA does not want you sharing it’s “intellectual property”? That’s how big of a fight a corporation is willing to put up for music. Just imagine the kerfuffle that will arise when you finally can download a car. Or a great many other things.

Like guns.

oh.

That brings us to the above strip. As you  can see, it is about another particular concern some politicians have had. Using printers to make guns. Sounds scary, right? But you know what? You can already make a gun with about $20 worth of equipment from your local hardware store. And it would be more effective than one made with today’s printers.

Whatever your feelings on the topic of gun ownership, please don’t hamper this growing technology just because stupid people do stupid things. It might just be a step in our next industrial revolution.

-Thaddeus