A 3D Printed Arms Trade

I’ve been reading and thinking about 3D printers of late, and just how they are going to change the world.

The most scary aspect of this is just how it will impact upon the military and the arms trade.

Military Aircraft & War Ships.

Here is a summary of just what has been going on of late, and some of the thinking behind it.

Siemens plans to produce spare parts for its gas turbines.

BAE Systems are now starting to produce 3D printed Tornado Aircraft which are being tested by the RAF.

While the  ‘ U.S. Navy could soon use these popular tech tools to shake up traditional supply chains and revolutionise maritime strategy.’

The following article gives some more idea of just what the future might hold: –

“Print Me a Cruiser” : The Future of the US Fleet

Design, Print, and Kill local.

The  way 3D printers work means that anyone can scan existing weapons component parts, convert the info in to a software programme, and start their own local weapons industry.

Last year a working gun was made with a 3D printer, but that’s just the start of it all.

The use of 3D printers will make it very difficult to impose any international arms controls, and produce a lot of legal problems for those who wish to impose any prohibition on the export of weapons or weapon systems.

This is something which very few legislators will have ever thought about. Neither has there been any thoughts given upon just how to stop the military proliferation which this technology might cause.

It is possible to prohibit the sale of arms, and even the blueprints of specific weapons.

Yet 3 key questions do need to be examined: –

–  How can this be extended to weapons production software?

– Will that be enough to stop the proliferation of new small arm manufacturing?


– Just how do you stop anyone from scanning weapons, and reproducing them via a 3D printer ?

Here is one idea which has been proposed:

Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) is looking at how to regulate working guns made by 3-D printers.’

The Jobs Issue.

3D printing can be done at the point of need, and thus saves a lot of transport costs.

This in turn means less jobs for transport workers, and far fewer people involved in the manufacturing process.

Thus there will be less large arms factories, and a decrease in the export of weapons.

This in turn will result in a lot of job loses,  which is very difficult to quantify at present,
but it is something we should all be thinking about.

It will also weaken the case put by the arms trade that they promote manufacturing & thus job.

Though it might also mean that many more new weapons are in use around the world.

It’s the kind of issue which those involved in the Trade Unions and Anti-Arms Trade Campaigners  should start to study.

On the Plus Side.

– 3D food printers can create sweets and chocolates.

– 3D printers can produce artificial limbs.


– They can be used to make amazing works of art.