Three Things You Can't 3D Print Legally

Want a new pair of shoes? A 3D printer can get you some exactly to your fit and liking. How about a flat-head screwdriver? 3D printers can make surprisingly strong and precise tools. In fact, no matter what you want to print in three-dimensions, rather than just text and images on paper, a state-of-the-art 3D printer can probably do it.

But this doesn’t mean that just anything can be 3D printed. The federal government has had its eye on this developing technology and has already taken steps to regulate what can come out of a 3D printer, whether it is in a commercial setting or in someone’s home.

Here’s three things you cannot legally 3D print:

  1. Objects subject to patents: When an object, blueprint, or design is patented, only the person, entity, or company holding the patent can create, recreate, or manufacture it. Before you download schematics to 3D print that neat gizmo you saw, make certain it isn’t patented. Otherwise, you could get into legal trouble.
  2. Most firearms: As an extension of your Second Amendment rights to bear arms, you can actually legally manufacture a few types of guns for your own personal use without any official licenses. However, there are some strict limitations that you need to follow. Specifically, you cannot create your own assault weapon, any gun you do manufacture must be detectable through traditional methods, and you cannot share schematics to produce a firearm openly. For 3D printers and gun aficionados, this all means that if you do print a firearm, keep it small, use metal components, and don’t tell others how you did it.
  3. Explosive devices: You can’t manufacture your own improvised explosive devices, and so you cannot 3D print them. It may also violate federal law to 3D print components of bombs that do not have any other purpose or application.

At Acro Photo Print Inc., we are a more traditional paper-and-toner kind of printing service. 3D printing is a little outside of our wheelhouse but the technology is undeniably captivating and it should be interesting to see how it continues to develop in the future.

If you would like more information about Acro Photo Print Inc. in New York City, please feel welcome to call 929.244.4322 at any hour of the day, any day of the week, or contact us online. We handle large-scale jobs for law firms, convert massive files to new formats, shred unwanted paperwork, and much more.