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A MakerBot is a 3-D printer that “prints” or creates physical objects.  These 3-D printers use design files as blueprints, then fabricate items from layers of plastic material like powder or liquid.  The printers can be used to create just about anything the user can design, including figurines, iPhone docks, coffee cup holders, and gun parts.  MakerBot runs a website called Thingiverse, which is a database of downloadable design files for 3-D printers.  MakerBot recently removed the blueprints for gun parts from Thingiverse amidst a growing debate about the potential for 3-D printers to be used to create weapons.

Source:  CNN News

Date:  December 20, 2012


Discussion Questions:

  • Does there need to be regulations put into place about which products can be reproduced using a 3D Printer?
  • The company focus for MakerBot is to “empower the creative process”.  Would regulations impede a person’s right to free expression, and hinder the creative process?


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