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8 Horrifying Implications of 3D Printers

The Dangerous Creations of our 3D Future

Let’s start by clarifying that there are no guns on this list. Not functioning ones, anyway. Thanks to self-proclaimed anarchist Cody Wilson, who is of the opinion that every U.S citizen should be able to make their own gun, everyone on Earth with access to a newspaper knows about the horrors of 3D printers. In actual fact, they’ve been around since 1984, when Charles Hull used stereolithography to build layers of plastic into a pre-designed object. It doesn’t sound too exciting when you put it like that. Since then, they’ve been implemented mainly through industry, with some tech-geeks investing in their own machines to make slightly deformed Daleks and Storm Troopers. But now that the world- or the web- is convinced that the 3D printer will ultimately bring about the end of days, we thought we’d take a look at other potentially dangerous products currently in the 3D pipeline.

3D Printing Ideas


The Robots

This is quite an obvious one, probably due to the human urge to get someone- or something- else to do the things that we don’t want to do. Current 3D printed robots include humanoids that are probably designed just to scare your friends, self-assembling robots that don’t seem to do anything after they assemble and spiderbots that jump about looking like something from The Matrix. These don’t seem very impressive, admittedly, but they are set to go all futuristic on us. NASA has claimed that giant spider robots could 3D print a lunar base, so at the moment we’re looking at a future in which we have huge spiderbots on the moon. If that doesn’t sound like the start of a sci-fi horror film, just think of the implications of mass-produced self-assembling armour, as seen in Iron Man 3.


The Body Parts

When we say that you can 3D print body parts, we don’t mean that you can grow another leg if you misplace one of your existing ones. But we do mean that you can make prosthetic limbs, replacement joints and kneecaps, skulls and fully-working bionic ears. That all sounds great, because no one is going to try and replace their own kneecap, and just think of all the cool designs for prosthetic limbs. But surely it’s only a matter of time until someone gets bored and makes additional limbs for themselves, and then what you’ve got is a new breed of super-humans who are able to unlock their car door whilst carrying 8 bags-for-life, taking a swig of their Frappuccino and tweeting about it. Or moonlight as an eight-legged super villain, making use of the spiderbots to jump out at unsuspecting students. Almost nothing good can come of that.


The Buildings

Some people say that it was only a matter of time before someone thought of 3D printed buildings, because obviously when a new machine comes along the immediate instinct is to make a giant version that makes giant versions of everything else, including your Malibu Barbie Dreamhouse. The man who did think of this was Enrico Dini, who claims that it takes a quarter of the time traditional building techniques take. Of course, by traditional building he means trusting people, who most often have brains and sometimes have common sense, to build structures that millions of other people spend the majority of their lives in. It seems now that he is suggesting we throw that one out of the window and put all our good faith in machines, presumably because he didn’t see Terminator. While we’re at it, we might as well put all aeroplanes on auto-pilot and have some police-bots go on patrol for us.


The Dead

When someone dies, be it a loved one or an idolised celebrity, it’s nice to remember them the way they were when they were alive and still moving about, right? Well now it seems there’s no need for that anymore because you can 3D print a sculpture of their head from their skeleton. This all started when archaeologists found the supposedly evil Richard III buried under a car park in Leicester and decided to settle the debate about his personality by using a 3D printer to reconstruct his face. It turned out that he wasn’t as ugly as history and Shakespeare had made him out to be, so academics concluded that he couldn’t have been evil after all because everyone knows that only ugly people are evil. Despite looking like a reject from Madam Tussaud’s, the model is almost certainly accurate, except for the ears and slight smile, which designers entirely made up. Whilst this idea might appeal to those mourning the deceased, we’re not sure if there can ever be anything half as dangerous to society as a slightly smiling bust of Michael Jackson on your mantelpiece.


The Revolver iPhone Dock

Turns out that gun enthusiasts haven’t been using 3D printers just to make guns, they’ve also been using them to make things that look like guns but are actually slightly bizarre iPhone accessories. A particularly startling one is the revolver dock, into which you insert your phone as though it were the barrel of the gun. There’s a window for your USB cable, in case you want to charge your gun/phone, but that seems to be about all it does. There is a trigger that looks as though it could do something interesting, but as far as we can tell it doesn’t, it’s just a phone case that looks like a gun. If that is indeed all it is, is it really worth being strip-searched at an airport or tackled in a shopping centre for? Looks like this one’s here to test just how enthusiastic you are about guns.



The Foetus

We’re not sure if this is more or less scary than having a model of your dead relative/celebrity idol, but it means that instead of just having a blurring picture of your beautifully developing foetus you can have a 3D printed paperweight. Surprisingly, this has become quite popular in Japan, where expectant parents can pay just under $1000 to have designers create a model of their MRI scan. This seems quite harmless, even though it’s unlikely that the child is going to feel anything other than fear and nausea when they find that model in their parents’ attic in 20 years. But then we return to the human urge to make everything giant, and suddenly the world is filled with 100 foot tall womb monuments. Never underestimate the power of the biological clock.


The Vehicles

Recently there’s been a bit of a buzz around self-driving cars and their potential dangers. After all, we all know what happens to the lesser humans who blindly trust satnavs to lead them over road works, rivers and cliffs. What if the self-driving car was hacked, went haywire or spontaneously decided to self-destruct? It seems that the general public don’t trust machines with their personal safety, so you’d think that 3D printing modes of transport like cars and boats would be out of the question. Sadly that isn’t the case though, as committed environmentalists and boat lovers WOOF have shown by 3D printing a vessel from recycled milk jugs. The effectiveness of this can be seen clearly in the picture below, in which a member of the team attempts to race against a raft made of milk cartons, but is ultimately being submerged in the water. We’re not sure if this shows the dangers of 3D printing or the dangers of letting environmentalists design vehicles, but either way, we’d rather swim.


The Sex Toys

Using 3D printers to create sex toys is a no-brainer when you give a techno-geek a decent supply of silicone and access to an unlimited array of product designs. What else are they going to make? Best case scenario you end up with thousands of sleeker, cheaper toys. Worst case scenario you end up with a vibrator in the shape of Justin Bieber’s head. Unfortunately, we ended up with the worst case scenario. The good side of this is that it doesn’t actually look anything like Justin Bieber. The scary side of this is that the person that designed it originally made one in the shape of Sigmund Freud, but then changed their plans when they were informed that Freud wasn’t particularly sexy. Also available, for reasons entirely unknown, are a collection of adult toys modelled from line graphs representing the vote approval rating of a variety of political candidates. All that’s really left to say about this is that it looks like a large chess set, which can only mean a horrifically painful trip to A&E for anyone involved.















Rosie Tallant

Posted by Rosie Tallant on 4th June, 2013

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