Here’s a tale from the New York Times that disturbed me.
I’ve always had a strong affinity with Americans, which is why I ended up living there for several years. But it’s said that in US politics, the hard left starts where the British hard right ends. In particular, the right to bear arms is so alien to my way of thinking that I cannot make any sense of it – nor, I suspect, can most Europeans. So, along comes this story.
3-D printers are becoming a consumer product. The printers cost less than a grand and can print objects by spraying thin layers of plastic or metal that are built up into shapes. They’ve been used for years to make prototypes and parts, but now they’re becoming faster and less expensive – and companies are setting up to sell them.
At home you could make fairly basic items from door hinges to luggage labels, or you could do what a young man called Cody Wilson is planning. He’s a Texan student, and he wants to make guns. A number of people have already made gun parts using 3-D printers, and the guns have successfully fired bullets. In theory, after committing a crime with a printed weapon, you can melt down the plastic and reprint it as something else. And guns made of plastic may not be spotted by metal detectors.
But the NYT article has flaws, probably propagated by Mr Wilson himself, who sounds like a character from a bad prison movie. The consensus is that personal 3-D printing is a nascent technology and is still a long way from being achievable, despite Mr Wilson’s claims. However, it should open an intriguing new avenue for horror stories.