John Hornick on 3D Printing, and some related comments about America 3.0


[Note: I am not personally or professionally acquainted with Mr. Hornick. He is in no way associated with any opinions I may have, or proposals I have made. He is not affiliated in any way with the America 3.0 Institute.]

We wrote America 3.0 in 2012, mostly, and it was published in 2013. In the book we present a picture of America in 2040. We predict the demise of the industrial-era political and economic order, which is visibly failing today, and the rise of a new set of institutional arrangements for the country. A big part of this change is the development of several important new technologies which will undermine the existing order, and democratize the economy in radical ways.

We focused on 3D printing, driverless cars, cheap desalination and personalized health care and medication. We were not trying to write a comprehensive book about future technology. Rather, our goal was to indicate the scale of the changes in technology which were coming, and the disruptive impact they would have. If we were to write it now, we would have said more about robotics, drones, and blockchains, for example. Nonetheless, the general trend of things is as we predicted. And as we suspected, things are moving much faster, and the world will be even more different by 2040 than we rather conservatively predicted.

I recently ran across some outstanding videos by John Hornick, an intellectual property attorney at the Finnegan firm in DC. His Twitter is here. Mr. Hornick is an expert on the law and the technology of 3D printing. I have spent a few hours immersed in his videos.

Mr. Hornick has a video, entitled “3D Printing State of the Art: Industrial” from May of 2015 which gets into detail about the current state of the art in 3D printing. It is a good primer if you are interested in the field. His deep knowledge as well as his enthusiasm make for a compelling presentation of a highly technical subject.

Without any hype, and based on the actual practices in the industry as it is today, he is predicting massive changes in the economy to result from the development and dissemination of 3D printing technology. He mentions that there are various terms being used, including “additive manufacturing” but that he prefers the term “3d Printing” because it is the most appealing way to describe it, which grabs the imagination. I agree with him on that.

Incidentally, in our book we speculated that jet engine turbine blades would not be manufactured by 3D printing, because the processing history of the product as well as the shape and material were critical, and printing would not be able to provide the needed characteristics. We were very wrong about that! In fact, at about 57:00 he mentions that the first fully 3D printed jet engine has been made, presumably including turbine fan blades.

Mr. Hornick discusses the disruptive effect on the economy of 3D printing technology, which is only beginning to happen. He mentions as an example a company that was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on turbine blades, which started using a 3D printing to repair and replace turbine blades.

This is great for the company that needs the blades, terrible for the company that sells the blades. You can see how disruptive this technology can be, totally changing the way products are made, sold, distributed and used. And also totally changing who’s a manufacturer and who’s a customer. The customer becomes a manufacturer.

Established relationships are going to dissolve, and even established categories of business are going to dissolve.

Mr. Hornick says he views “the state of 3D printing today as where the steam engine was in 1765.” We agree that this technology is going to be, as the economists call it, a general purpose technology, meaning it will become pervasive in society, even down to the consumer and household level, it will improve in quality and fall in price over time, and it will spawn innovation. In other words, it will be a technology on the scale of the steam engine, electrical power, or computing. It will fundamentally transform society.

One thing that comes through clearly in this video is that there is a large number of firms, and they are currently using a variety of different methodologies. It reminds me of the early era of any new technology, where there are many firms and many techniques. For example there were dozens of automobile companies in the first two decades of the 20th Century. As the technology matures, there will be consolidation into fewer firms, and many approaches will be abandoned until a small set of standards are established. This typically follows a Hype Cycle, where there is excitement about the new technology, no one knows yet which firms will become leaders, there is overhype and over-investment, then there is a mass extinction phase that leaves a few market leaders standing, then a leveling off into being a mature industry.

But 3D printing is still in the “Wild West” stage, with lots of firms taking lots of different approaches. Mr. Hornick mentions the Hewlett Packard Multi Jet Fusion technology (FAQs here), which might be a “game changer.” Perhaps this machine, or a machine like it, will be the Model T of this technology.

At about 1:00:00 he talks about the legal ramification of this field. This technology, he says, cuts across all types of law and regulation. “Every industry, every type of law, every technology, they are all involved.” This is similar to the point I make in my talks about America 3.0 and the Future of the Legal Profession. The transition from America 1.0, the world of muscle power and small scale enterprises, to America 2.0, the world of machine power and large organizations, included a transformation of the legal profession. Old fields died out, or were changed in basic ways. New areas of practice arose which were never heard of before. There is nothing more basic than tort law, to the contemporary legal mind. It is one of a handful of basic features of our system. Yet it arose in its current form as a result of the steam engine. The first treatise on torts appeared in 1857, because before that time, before the existence of power machinery, the number and severity of accidents and injuries was immeasurably smaller. Similarly, the legal profession was essential to bringing the new world into being. All aspects of corporate law, litigation and transactional, had to be invented from scratch, for example. The lawyers and firms that were early and successful movers built empires, some of which endure to this day. Similar opportunities, and threats, are coming along faster than most people in the legal profession imagine.

An earlier video by Mr. Hornick from 2013, entitled “3D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property” focuses more on the potential impact of 3D printing as a disruptive technology, and on the legal side of these developments.

Mr. Hornick (around 11:00) uses the helpful phrase “away from control” to describe what will happen when people can manufacture anything they want, with any functionality, at will, not subject to external supervision, and privately, with no one knowing the item was made. He predicts “a complete paradigm shift” where there is a “complete democratization of manufacturing.” The “lines will blur between manufacturers, retailers and users.”

He does not focus on this “democratization”, which is a key feature of the argument in America 3.0. We argue that the new technologies which are coming are anti-hierarchical, anti-centralizing, individually-empowering and work ideally in networks rather than boxed-in organizations. Another way to say it is that the limitations on knowledge and capabilities which Ronald Coase asserted as the rationale for the business firm are dissolving. The way I have described this is that, far from fading away, we are on the verge of a renaissance of American manufacturing, and the factory floor will be everywhere. Every single manufactured product can be and will be customized. Furthermore, 3D printing, and other technologies, will not only disrupt and transform the economy, they undermine the rationale for the modern state. Major technological changes inevitably have downstream political consequences. We can only speculate on this, but it is certainly coming. And it will take lawyers to navigate the period of disruption, and to enact the reforms needed to take advantage of these developments, so that they make our country more free and prosperous in the future.


Mr. Hornick has a webinar entiled 3D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property” which I have not yet listened to.

Other sources for this topic include the following:

3D Printer World

3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing

3D Printing Industry

John Hornick’s articles

John Hornick’s Twitter

Cross-posted at the America 3.0 Institute Blog

Mr. Hornick recently published a paper entitled 3D Printing and Public Policy, which looks good.

33 thoughts on “John Hornick on 3D Printing, and some related comments about America 3.0”

  1. Quality control assurance will be the big marketing problem. Absent that, almost every fatality in America arguably due to use of uncertified 3D printed parts will result in products liability lawsuits against every company in the manufacturing and distribution chain.

  2. I dunno. That’s like holding a multi-axis milling machine or lathe machine manufacturer liable for your failed product design. You, as the home engineer, are responsible for due diligence.

  3. SpaceX is 3D printing parts for their rocket engines, parts that were formerly machined. It’s definitely an arriving technology, not stardust anymore.

  4. Lex,

    The 3D printing for industries advocates are fanatic about removing mass while preserving and improving strength.

    This is also the holy grail of the Aerospace industry.

    As a DoD Quality Assurance man, that scares the snot out of me, as there are too many ways for unscrupulous vendors to cheapen the product via tampering with the material used and the computer model laying the material.

    Chinese manufacturers are notorious for this as it is.

    In terms of dealing with the non-destructive inspection of hollow void parts there are four predominant forms of non-destructive testing in industry.

    o Ultrasonic inspection (UI)
    o Liquid-dye Penetrate inspection (LP)
    o Magnetic Particle inspection (Mag-Particle)
    o X-Ray inspection (X-Ray)

    “Void structure in materials” that those inspection techniques usually look for are called cracks.

    UI detects voids via sound propagation through material. Different materials have different sound properties and stacked metals (Steel & Aluminum for example) require a skilled operator to set up the shoot. A very grainy 3D metal lay down would play hob with the sound propagation properties of the metal and likely would require either,

    1. Special computer processing with a multi-emitter sound transducer array for imaging, or
    2. 3D metal lay down standards regards material sound properties.

    Most UI machines in the field have simple sound transducer emitters because they keep getting pranged in the field by inspectors during set up or transport.

    A multi-void material aerospace part, even with good sound properties for the 3D printed metal, would be a real bitch to inspect with UI and a skilled operator with today’s equipment.

    LP detects surface cracks via the liquid being florescent under ultra-violet light. You apply the liquid, wipe it off and apply the light to find the crack. It is the cheapest and most widely used NDI method. It would be mostly useless for 3D printing inspection unless we are talking very thin panel structures.

    Mag-Particle involved magnetizing the part and either using a dry powder or a liquid bath. Both the powder and the liquid are magnetic and the liquid is florescent in UV light. Parts require multiple shots as cracks have to be perpendicular to the magnetic lines of force to be seen. Multi-void parts are going to show lines of force shadows and really complicated voids are going to make mag-particle problematic. And forget non-magnetic aerospace grade aluminum or titanium printed parts.

    This leaves X-ray as the predominant means of inspecting 3D parts with lots of built in voids.

    X-ray uses a caged radioactive material source to take photographic film and now increasingly digital images of parts to find voids. The issues here are two fold. Since the tightening up of radioactive material security since 9/11/2001, X-Ray inspection is much more expensive and the field as a whole is suffering from lower than work force replacement training for the next generation of class III inspectors required to train up the next generation of Level I and Level II folks who do most of the work.

    And that is at existing levels of X-ray work.

    NDI inspectors come in three flavors, Level I, Level II and Level III. Level I are new guys with little experience and usually limited to one inspection method. Level II have five years or more of experience and often are trained in more than one method. Level III inspectors train level I & II and set up part inspection plans for the levels I & II to execute. Generally the Level III’s are one per facility and have multiple NDI methods as a level III, AKA every one the industrial facility that the Level III works for uses.

    The adoption of 3D or “additive” manufacturing for reduced material structure applications involving crewed aerospace parts are going to be limited by the NDI infrastructure.

    “Design for NDI inspection” will have to be a top priority manufacturing design goal for 3D void structure parts to be adopted in a wide spread way by any industry.

    The US litigation & EU regulatory environments will assure that.

    And note, when I state “Design for NDI inspection”, it primarily means designing 3D parts for robotic X-ray and Ultrasonic type inspection.

    The historical example you have to go back for the real advantages of “3D” or “additive” manufacturing to make itself felt to is the productivity improvement example of designed from the ground floor electrified factories versus the steam-electric conversion factories in the mid-1930’s through the early 1960’s era.

    England had a lot of the latter — it fought WW2 with them — with Labour Party backed Union work to rule in the post-WW2 era while the USA scrapped it’s steam-electric factory conversions in the late 1930’s and made its 1st Generation all electric plants more productive with a smaller work force right up to Pearl Harbor.

    The rise of the USA and the decline of England as manufacturing powers traces directly to that fact.

    And the rise of Germany and Japan over the USA in the 1970’s thru mid-1990’s era saw the newer post WW2 2nd generation electrical plant/factories in the defeated Axis powers taking market share from the 1930’s-1940’s plants in the USA that had reached their 30-year end of life.

    Right now as a DoD QA man I have this vision of Congressional hearings 3-to-5 years from now talking about a $.03 printed, high strength, man rated aerospace, hollow structure, part that costs $2999.97 to accept under — justified! — DoD procurement QC standards.

  5. Trent Telenko – If you’re spending $3k to inspect a vendor’s $0.03 part, doesn’t it make more sense to build the part in house and visually inspect as you build it? Even if it runs you $3 per structure and you destructively test every other one for $50 a test, you’re still well over $2800 in savings per part given your thought experiment pricing. Being able to record the construction process and see the voids as they are created would seem to me to provide better QA as well.

  6. TMLutis,

    Regards this —

    If you’re spending $3k to inspect a vendor’s $0.03 part, doesn’t it make more sense to build the part in house and visually inspect as you build it?

    First, combat units, oil field projects, airlines, pretty much any organization operating transportation are not going to haul around and operate a 3D part fabber for either a $0.03 or $3,000 part.

    Second, visual inspection (recorded or not) tells you nothing regards the material content of the material slury/powder to be printed nor the tensile strength or the metal grain structure after printing.

    Those are vital characteristics of a part’s intended useful life that absolutely have to work.

    Even if it runs you $3 per structure and you destructively test every other one for $50 a test, you’re still well over $2800 in savings per part given your thought experiment pricing.

    The infrastructure to destructively test as opposed to NDT has to be paid for if it is not there in the first instance and in some applications it would be unacceptable. Period. Dot.

    Making absolutely sure the part to be installed has had testing before use is built into FAA flight rated part regulation, Dept of Energy nuclear part safety requirements and NASA space rated parts among others.

    And those are relatively sane, if bureaucratic requirements, compared to engineering risk mitigation for auto crash litigation.

    Being able to record the construction process and see the voids as they are created would seem to me to provide better QA as well.

    If you mean make automated NDT a part of the 3D Fabber construction process that spits out a NDT inspection report with the part, with a periodic certification to a national standard process for the robotic NDT inspection in the fabber, then yes.

    And, carefully note, the NDT inspection portion of the Fabber has to be independently sealed/secured in such a way as to prevent a simple electronic substitution of a good NDI report for an actual bad or non-existent NDI report.

    Otherwise, Oh H*ll No!

    There are any number of parts the Federal government buys where the inspection costs are more than the manufacturing costs.

    Categories include:

    o Nuclear Sub Safe
    o Critical Safety of Flight
    o Space Flight Rated
    o Critical Application Items

    The particular issue with “designed in voids” in 3D printed parts for weight reduction is the uniquely high risk of fraud in manufacture and the almost certain requirement of explosive growth in trained non-destructive testing human capital that will be required to support the introduction of such designed in void parts into our transportation infrastructure.

    NB: Certification fraud for NDT inspectors will be a growth tort for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and their Service component equivalents.

    This is why I am harping on “Design for NDI inspection”.

  7. SpaceX is 3D printing parts for their rocket engines, parts that were formerly machined.

    SpaceX is printing parts because the vendors in the rocket part of the aerospace industry are quoting them 300 to 400 day lead times for parts at absurd prices.

    Most companies are not as well capitalized as SpaceX to be able to pull that off.

  8. Lex,

    This —

    Every single manufactured product can be and will be customized. Furthermore, 3D printing, and other technologies, will not only disrupt and transform the economy, they undermine the rationale for the modern state. Major technological changes inevitably have downstream political consequences. We can only speculate on this, but it is certainly coming. And it will take lawyers to navigate the period of disruption, and to enact the reforms needed to take advantage of these developments, so that they make our country more free and prosperous in the future.

    …is not going to happen any more than the home sewing machine destroyed the textile and fashion industries.

    More importantly, when the Internet Fraudsters hit the “Internet of things” the 3D evangelists talks about. The cost in money, death and destroyed lives will leave the nation-state very much in the position regulatory king maker in democratic nations.

  9. The inspection/ fabrication puzzle above sounds to me like an opening for a disruptive technology we haven’t thought of yet.

    Long long ago, I was an engineer in the aircraft industry that was just going into space. I worked on the Nike Zeus missile project. Then I went to medical school and watched the evolution of the electron microscope, among other things. My lab partner in medical school was one of the two chemical engineer/physical chemists who designed Aerojet General’s solid rocket engines for the Minutemen missile. He had decided to go to medical school, too. He flunked his first biochem quiz because he couldn’t figure out what the professor was saying about covalent bonds. The professor talked to him and he was quickly given an A and moved on.

    I’m trying to think of an analogy that isn’t medicine. The first anti-psychotic drugs were anti-histamines.

    I try to read about genetic medicine but have trouble catching up.

    I did some reading about nanotechnology and think about Feynmann’s Prize. His story about the first prize was amusing. He offered the prize and had a few takers but no winners. Then guy showed up with a box under his arm. Feynmann asked him to show him the model, which had to be an operating motor, as I recall. The guy reached into the box and came out with a microscope. At that point, Feynman said, “Oh Oh. I think this guy has it. ”

    It may not be what we anticipate.

  10. Lex,

    Here is a Real World event for your consideration.

    My take —

    Reality feedback has not arrived to “Local Motors” in terms of safety crash litigation and Federal court/NTSB mandated production recalls.

    The two key metrics I have used as “Bozo filters” in evaluating start-up rocket companies over the last 30-years was their handle on insurance for operations and succession planning.

    Insurance planning showed company assessment of risk, and in particular regulatory/political risk, to on-going operations and succession planning showed that they were operating as an on-going concern and not a scam.

    Only 3-4 of the dozens of rocket start ups have passed this test. Orbital Sciences, Blue Origins and Space-X are on that short list with a couple of others vying for spot #4.

    NB: If the airline tycoon Branson (sp?) dies tomorrow, so does his space tourism rocketplane.

    IMO, “Local Motors” is uniquely vulnerable to crash recall litigation due to its use of printed materials for crash protection. A crash based recall based upon printed materials will wipe out the company.

    The same is true for your idea of democratized manufacturing.

    3D evangelists who have not spend an exceedingly long time thinking through and talking about the risk spreading implications for legal, political, regulatory environment of a 3D printed product liability given the inevitable bad actors are hucksters/bad actors themselves.

  11. Chinese manufacturers are notorious for this as it is.

    The Indians are no slouches at this either. In the nuke plant biz, we had a huge dustup in the mid 1980’s over fraudulent bolts made by Indian manufacturers that several American suppliers had subcontracted work to. I remember talking to an engineer for General Dynamics at their Ft. Worth plant who used to work with me when I was at Comanche Peak, and they had the problem too. It cost us several months work to go through EVERY bolt on EVERY pipe support and flange in the plant to determine if we had the bad bolts, and we had a lot of them.

    I don’t see 3D printing replacing fabrication of really big forgings like reactor vessels, steam generators, or large turbine rotors, but for smaller items, they’ll be good. Trent is right, QA/QC standards will have to be changed to take these techniques into account. I can see 3D printing making a big difference when we finally start planting bases on the moon or Mars where they can be used to take advantage of local resources instead of shipping fabricated parts.

  12. It’s not just QA inspection and liability issues.

    Many if not most products involve a multiplicity of parts, made of differening materials and requiring different physical characteristics. After basic fabrication of a steel part, heat treating or cryogenic hardening may be required.

    Consider making an electric motor. Metals with appropriate magnetic and electrical properties must be used. Fine electrical wire (insulated) must be wound around the stator and/or rotor, with many layers. Ball or roller bearings must be inserted in fabricated raceways. How on earth would one fabricate something like that in a 3-D printer?

    Now add electronic controls for the motor. These will involve integrated circuits which are made on *very* expensive production machinery.

    Now put the motor and the controls into a higher-level product, say, a washing machine. I guess it would be possible to fabricate the outer shell of the washer using a layer-by-layer 3-D printing process, but really, what are the odds that this could compete economically with the process of stamping sheet steel?

    3-D printing has a lot of potential, but these machines are *not* replicators from some SF story.

  13. Grurray,

    You don’t think like a criminal, or an auditor trained to detect them.

    From your CT scan link —

    CT scanning uses a series of 2D X-ray images to reconstruct a 3D part. In CIMP-3D’s scanner, the part is placed on a turntable in the middle of the machine. The X-ray projector, on the right side of the machine, shines X-rays through the part onto a sensor on the left side. Solid parts block X-rays, creating shadows on the sensor, and the result is a greyscale image where dark areas correspond with solid mass and light areas correspond with empty space.

    AKA CT Scan is digital X-ray.

    The ability to fraudulently create a digital CT scan image, as compared to real X-ray film, leaves a huge hole for bad actors to act.

  14. I’m also more optimistic than Trent, and agree with Joe Wooten’s and Grurray’s take much more. I can see lots of young girls designing their own jewelry or even shoes. I can see the technology graduating to allow a small business to purchase a good size printer and make tables and chairs or doors. Small non-structural, non life support items will get printed at home routinely. Software and templates will emerge for common items that will allow them to be printed as is or customized to your desired level of time and interest. Designs of objects will be available online in design-share communities, many free to download and print.

    Another possible approach to inspection of 3D printed objects might be a version sonic velocity testing:
    You characterize the thickness and voids based on the speed and reflection of sound waves through an object. Non destructive too.

  15. Grurray,

    The future is a transition from the past.


    >>The voids are going to be minimized because design will be optimized for 3D printing…

    Assumes that parts are being added to existing platforms that are in extreme environments requiring seals to existing structure.

  16. Grrr…

    Assumes that parts _are not_ being added to existing platforms that are in extreme environments requiring seals to existing structure.

    I am working with 60(+) year old technical data packages on standard parts list bushing originally designed in 1957 and last updated in 1978 and built on 21st century CMM work cells.

    3D printing has to be able to build parts for the existing installed technology base if it hopes to have a real future.

  17. >>You don’t think like a criminal

    Reminds me of something I heard a geotechnical engineer say. He reviewed test data done by Asia Development Bank for a new building. Moisture content of the soil at 1 meter in this boring was 17.2%, in the next it was 17.6%, in the next it 17.5%. Know what that is? BS. I can’t get results like that in a controlled experiment in a lab. I’ve NEVER seen that out in the field, anything like that. Fake data. I didn’t sign off.

    VW just got caught with software that changes engine performance during emissions testing. It allows their diesel models to pass emissions, but changes back to full performance mode when it’s driven.

    One can argue that certain – or even many – regulations are too stringent, but that’s a different argument.

  18. ” It allows their diesel models to pass emissions, but changes back to full performance mode when it’s driven.”

    There are some contrary arguments I’m seeing that this is not a real scandal.

    This “scandal” is being misreported everywhere. What happened is that VW had two modes their Diesels could run under. One was low-emissions; the other was higher-emissions, higher-performance. The car’s computer reset to low-emissions mode when it was stationary, hence the nice numbers. But the performance numbers (including mileage) came from the other mode. Clever, but not quite fraudulent.

    Interesting: This is being reported everywhere as an emissions scandal, when it might just as well have been a mileage scandal. I guess emissions are the bigger deal these days.

    I’m not sure but that this is another 14 year old Muslim clock story. The comments are here. I’m not enough of a car guy to know. At one time I had all diesel cars when Carter was president. Then California taxed them out of existence,

  19. I agree that we have a long way to go.
    I’ve visited and worked in the past with prototype bureaus that have half million dollar machines which sometimes have a hard time not producing junk. We’re still looking for that big technological leap which brings enough consistency for meaningful dispersion. Or maybe like the automobile analogy, it will be a process leap.

    David brings up a good point. The discussion of 3D printers revolves mostly revolves around components.
    With multi-material printing, making brushless motors (no windings) gets more realistic, but it’s probably going to require something similar to the GE bracket with an entirely new design and new way of thinking about motors.

    Circuit boards can now be 3D printed. Non-integrated components like capacitors, resistors, etc may plausibly be able to be replaced with new material advances. Maybe it will require really rapid 3D printing in-line with a robotic work cell or assembly line. Something like Carbon3D’s new fast and accurate printer pared with super fast robotic assemblers and you could be talking about some serious fabrication.

  20. Wait, scratch that. According to VW’s website, their CEO is staying. He’s got a video up in German, so maybe something got lost in translation. Their stock is down almost 30% since last week.

  21. “Their stock is down almost 30% since last week.”

    I’m wondering if it may be a buy by Friday. Nothing about Obama’s regime inspires trust in me.

  22. >>New techs constantly promise paradise so long as no one misuses them.

    You got that in one.

    3D printers capable of laying down edible organics are also capable of printing plastic explosive.

    And it does not stop there for the American three letter national security agency nightmares.

    An AvWeek article back in June 2015 was about cheap cruise missile guidance that allows GPS-free Tomahawk long range guidance class cruise missiles using uncooled thermal sensors.

    This is a comment from the guy who forwarded it to me —

    This is a welcome and arguably overdue development. With the pixel counts improving and cost declining in microbolometer uncooled thermal imaging chips, this is eminently feasible, and for all intents and purposes, unjammable. The basic tech for navigation and homing is well proven via the DSMAC program and the area-correlator algorithms date back to the 1970s. Likely this tech is what is used in Javelin, but never been disclosed.

    Ideally this could be used for sufficiently cheap munitions to permit large salvo launches to saturate Russian and Chinese Counter-PGM systems.

    The reference to the US Army Javelin man portable anti-tank missile is due to the fact the US Army has, with very little fan fair, upped its range from 2.5 KM to 4.75 KM using a better seeker, improved/smaller electronics that allowed a longer rocket motor and a better kinematic trajectory (AKA more ballistic) that the improved thermal seeker field of view and sensitivity permitted.

    The issue for 3D printers is that really cheap commercial thermal imagers (See: “microbolometer uncooled thermal imaging chips” comment above) are being used on infantry small arms and crew served weapons both sides in the Ukraine conflict.

    This is one of the reasons why the Ukrainians nailed a lot of the Early Russian Spetsnaz infiltrations (“Early” meaning the skilled operators and not the ‘truck borne infantry’ cannon fodder using the title now) in the Donbass.

    Between 3D printing and Google map overhead image database for a digital scene matching automatic correlation (DSMAC), we will see cheap, printed component, off the shelf, mini-Tomahawk IV cruise missiles by mid-sized drug gang class sized financial organizations inside of 10 years and maybe as little as five. The high end radio control crowd now using a line of relatively cheap ( $1K to $10K) jet turbines


    I loved the comments there about small/cheap pulse jets. The video of the scale model F-14 is even better.

    But what chilled me was this review of a booked linked there “Kamps book explains clearly how, with a reasonably well equipped workshop, a model engineer can build an efficient working jet engine…”

    Can you say printed, cheap and expendable pulse jet engines?

  23. I predicted some time ago that the narcos will deliver their recreational pharmaceuticals directly to secluded caves in the US via stealthy cruise missiles launched from Mexico.

  24. Didn’t VW have trouble with right-to-work issues in the recent past? Tennessee? South Carolina? or am I thinking another manufacturer? Jalopnik is a great site, and Mike was sooo close to Goodwood!

  25. “TN held a vote to unionize, and the motion failed.”

    And you don’t think this was related to the EPA attack on VW ?

    The UAW has been trying to organize that plant for years.

    Obama has weaponized the government, not against enemies as we have known them but against citizens who reject his agenda.

  26. Assuming this 3-D printing technology lives up to its hype, would it not be a shot in the arm for the “localization” movement? 3-D printing, along with an even more radical technology of desk-top microfluidics manufacturing of any drug or gene therapy in one’s own home ought to be the kind of technology that localists such as Rod Dreher and others should be advocating. Yet, such people are strangely silent on these kinds of technology. Why is that?

    It makes no sense to me that a decentralized, localized economies must necessarily be low tech. I prefer the vastly expanded capabilities of high tech.

Comments are closed.