3D printing is starting to come to forefront of industrial thinking today, with several companies seeing the benefits in its use.
Although it still has a relatively small usage compared to traditional manufacturing techniques, it is a method that is being discussed extensively.
However, this week we have seen a knee jerk reaction that shows the fear that often surrounds open sourced opportunities.
A news report came out of Manchester in the UK which said that a man had been arrested after using a 3D printer to create a gun. given that handguns are illegal in the UK and other guns are only available to those who hold a license, this was a serious allegation.
On closer inspection however, it turns out the the 'trigger mechanism' and 'magazine' that were found were actually spare parts for the printer. However, the response to this being a mistake by the police is not widely reported by comparison. This means that unless people have researched the subject, most will now think that guns are now being made with 3D printers.
This is one of the factors that needs to be addressed when we look at increasing the use of 3D printers in the supply chain. In order to make 3D printers into what they should be, the image of illicit and underground usages needs to be removed.
Although this story isn't true, the reality is that now much of society has been introduced to 3D printing from a story of criminality. In this situation there is the chance that governments could throw in knee jerk legislations that would limit the effectiveness.
This needs to be avoided and with the mainstream media taking an interest in this technology, the supply chain community needs to make sure the benefits are correctly communicated to avoid similar situations.