Is 3D scanning a privacy concern?

Is new technology threatening privacy in new ways? (Image courtesy of adamr /

Is new scanning technology threatening your privacy in new ways? (Image courtesy of adamr /

Maybe you’ve heard about some of the privacy worries and fist fights or people getting kicked out of businesses over Google Glass and fears of being filmed.  It seems to be the thing replacing 3D printing of guns in mainstream media in terms of new technology concerns.  I’ve also heard of door mats that will weigh everyone who comes to visit you.  Are these things invasion of privacy or just the natural evolution of cellphone video cameras and cameras at every street intersection? Continue reading

Should 3D Printing Go Open Source?

File:Roadster 2.5 windmills trimmed.jpg

This is now open source!

You may have seen in the press this week that Elon Musk has released all of Tesla’s electric car patents into the public domain.  In doing this he channeled a classic video game quote titling the release, “All Our Patent Are Belong to You.”  Just like it has benefited computer software (WordPress, Firefox, OpenOffice, Audacity, etc.) , it appears “open source” is benefiting 3D printing with low cost and high quality alternatives to commercial 3D printers and traditional CAD software. Continue reading

3D Printed Gun Update

Wikimedia Commons

The Liberator 3D Printed gun (from WikiMedia Commons


We wrote a year ago about 3D printed guns and it seems like they continue to be one of the most talked about issues related to the technology.  Michigan Tech even launched a contest called Print for peace in order to highlight non-weapon aspects of 3D printing.  I’ve seen 3D printing in popular culture from TV episodes of Elementary to CSI.  You can even watch a documentary about it and and one museum has even added it to its display because of the historical value.  It seems like when you mention 3D printing, a 3D printed gun comment is soon to follow. Continue reading

Good Versus Evil in a 3D World – New Laws on the Horizon?


Image courtesy of chanpipat at

Technology is usually neither good nor evil, it’s all in the application.  Unfortunately the criminal element is up on 3D printing technology as well.  Here’s the latest such infraction with thieves using 3D printers to make ATM card skimmers.  Without giving too many suggestions, you don’t have to think long about other illegal applications from key capture and duplication to simple counterfeiting.  Just like the internet brought a technological revolution, it also brought the need for new laws and security.  I imagine 3D printing/scanning will be no different.  Many crimes with a 3D printer will violate existing laws, but no doubt there are gaps we can count on criminal creativity to find for us to fill.

Additive Manufacturing and Patents

If you were unfamiliar with the world of patents before reading the April 16 post on Desktop Engineering, “EFF Challenges Six 3D Printing Related Applications”  you would think the patent system was a hindrance to, rather than a catalyst for, innovation and a potential threat to the growing additive manufacturing industry.  To the contrary, while not perfect, the US patent system continues to serve as an effective means for protecting and incentivizing innovation and will help additive manufacturing to grow to its fullest potential. Continue reading


With the increasing popularity of 3d printing, it is almost inevitable that the technology will have legal growing pains similar to those of other technologies.  However, unlike digital music and movies, the products of 3D printing could be subject to not only copyright law, but also patent law.  In this series, we will provide an overview of the intellectual property laws that can apply to this technology and the likely hurdles the industry will face. Continue reading