The dangers of 3D printing, from CBS and Al Jazeera


Yesterday morning, it was CBS’s turn to bring 3D printing to its viewers. “CBS This Morning: Saturday” hosts Rebecca Jarvis and Anthony Mason welcomed Professor Hod Lipson, a leading authority on 3D printing technology from Cornell University and author of the book “Fabricated: The New World of 3-D Printing,” who told them that 3D printing is “just beginning.”

He sat down with the two hosts, alongside a printer that was making a coffee mug, and explained the basics of 3D printing. Then the obviously unprepared Rebecca Jarvis said:

“The printer you brought here today is technically very sophisticated, it’s more of a professional printer. But what I hear about the future, individuals will be able to purchase these printers, and for a couple hundred dollars — there are some questions with what the individual could build, that might not be good for the world.”

No Rebecca, it’s more accessible than you think. The professor corrected her:

“Well actually this is a consumer 3D printer. This is a printer that costs about $2,200, and is one that actually many people have at home. In fact more of these are sols than industrial scale printers.”

Oops. It’s just a Makerbot 2. But, since media personalities are not fond of correcting themselves on air, rather than say, “Wow, professor, that’s an awesome printer for $2200,” they just let that important point slide. Then, picking up on Rebecca’s point that 3D printers perhaps may “not be good for the world,” her cohost brought the conservation back to the potential negative aspects of 3D printers.

And in other news about the dangers of 3D printing…

Another video popped up on a news network this weekend. On Al Jazeera news. It had the inflammatory title of “3D printing’s dangerous downside.” Al Jazera’s Phil Lavelle reports from London, worried about guns being 3D printed in the U.K. and America.

I have a suggestion for Al Jazera. If they are worried about dangerous weapons killing people, how about doing a story instead on “Iran’s nuclear program’s dangerous downside?” Yeah, I’d like to see that one.

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