Printable….Ships?

Today I read an article about two Navy lieutenants named Scott Cheney-Peters and Matthew Hipple. In the journal of the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, the pair talked about the growth of 3D printers and that in the future these printers could change almost everything about the way the Navy builds things “through the design and construction of ships, submarines, aircraft, and everything carried on board.” As 3D printers evolve, their hope is that the Navy can use them for everyday logistics and producing tools and supplies. Cheney-Peters and Hipple want 3D printing to be so heavily incorporated into Navy use that it is used to print plates, tools, medical supplies, and even ships. They even hope that 3D printers can be placed in Naval hospitals so doctors can use them to print medical tools and prosthetic limbs. At this point in time, 3D printers are not capable of being used to the degree that these lieutenants are hoping, such as for printing ships and aircraft. The highest quality 3D printers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they still cannot print high quality rubber or metals that the Navy needs in production.

In our class, we have discussed 3D printing a number of times. We have also discussed drones. What is they were combined? Researchers in Virginia and the United Kingdom have printed working, flyable drones (without engines of course). As 3D printing becomes more popular and affordable, we will continue to hear more stories like this. However, the time is coming where it will be possible to print ships. If we can print ships, why not a nice car? Printable houses are already possible. What will be done to keep this all in line? Will the Government soon make limits on what can be done with 3D printers? Or will we continue to print 3D guns and whatsoever we desire as 3D printing evolves?

One Response to Printable….Ships?

  1. I mentioned this on another post about 3D printers already, but I think it holds true here too. 3D printer could make so many things a million times easier, quicker, and more convenient. However, they also run the risk of being very dangerous. If 3D printers do develop as far as it is predicted they will, anyone with one could build their own army. With that being said, I feel like 3D printers will be extremely regulated and this regulation will take away from their overall use. For example, I don’t think they’ll be able to be used casually in a person’s home or to recreationally make cars. Nonetheless, I’m sure this will not stop the military from using 3D printers at free will.

    If 3D printers are highly regulated, I believe it would be morally wrong by act utilitarianism. I say this because by highly regulating the printers, the use of the printers will be limited. By limiting the use of the printers it shows that this isn’t the act with the “greatest” increase in overall happiness and, therefore, is morally wrong.

    On a side note, I really hope some type of 3D printer is made affordable and aren’t over regulated, because I think that would be amazing.