Now that Defense Distributed is on the defensive, it’s time to think a bit harder about what 3D printing really means. To that end, Michigan Tech is sponsoring a Printers For Peace contest that is encouraging designers and engineers to make amazing stuff using a 3D printer that can change the world for the better. “Unfortunately, the only thing many people know about 3D printing is that it can be used to make guns,” writes Dr. Joshua Pearce, founder of the project.
“This is an open-ended contest, but if you’d like some ideas, ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi would make if they’d had access to 3D printing.”
The deadline for the contest is September 1st and they’ll announce winners on the 4th. They are looking for designers to build things that will help, not harm, people.
The winner of best project will win a Type A Machines Series 1 3D Printer and the runner-up gets a simpler RepRap Prusa Mendel 3D printing kit.
With all the press attention on 3D printing is the gateway to firearms anarchy, it’s refreshing to see someone take a different path. By backing 3D printing engineers into a corner, DefDist and the government are simply using fear to achieve competing goals. The results will be both needlessly draconian legislation and a variant of the Streisand Effect that will spread these arguably faulty plans far and wide. When the government outlawed DVD decryption code you could buy a T-shirt with the code printed on it. The same will happen in this case, although this code, when run, could take off fingers and give legislators more ammunition for a full crackdown on home 3D printing.
Let us know if you enter and good luck. We need more weapons against poverty and fewer weapons against each other.