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3D Printing Your Own Music


YOU'RE READING THE RANT OF A DEAD MAN: the newsletter rant

So we ranted some weeks ago about 3D printing and what it might all mean for the concept of downloading, piracy, and internet culture. In that rant, we argued that once a physical object becomes encodeable, that is, once we cross the physical-digital divide, arguments about the benefits of sharing and piracy become more complicated.

In other words, the mere fact that something is piratable is not sufficient to make piracy, file-sharing, and code-swapping an on-balance good thing. In fact, the danger of downloading was brought home this week at SXSW when Cody Wilson gave his presentation about Wiki Weapon, his personal mission to create the world's first functioning 3D printed gun.



GUN? Yes, gun. The technology is here to be able to 3D print pretty much whatever, and nearly half a million people have already downloaded Wilson's freely available source code. Perhaps this is the price we pay for technological progress, or perhaps, as some have stated, this really is a question about freedom from state control. Call me medieval, though, but I'm not sure I like the idea that people can print guns.

Meanwhile, over here where issues are of a less life-threatening nature, we're happy that others are using 3D printing to do other fun stuff, like printing vinyl records. On the other hand, I think back to that first rant again when I said that 3D printing could mean the end for the entire concept of the store. And if you happen to be a store that sells vinyl, well, your end seems pretty darn close now. Seems like no matter what people print, the end is nigh.

Well, the bar has been raised now for 3D printing: vinyl records, baby! Do-it-yourself takes on a whole new meaning...