For all we know, the smoke isn't clearing anytime soon when it comes to 3D-printed guns. Crypto-anarchists are making them. Firearms critics and advocates are battling over the right to print them. Sure, Congress may be keeping quiet over them, but for better or worse kill toys are dominating today's discussions over a goopy, printed dawn. Try telling it otherwise. You can't--at least not yet.
But while all of that roils around the surface, some of the maker set's elder trees stand huddled just below the radar, where presumably they'd like to stay. They're putting 3D-printing technology to an entirely new end: Getting high.
Which is to say, we've come a decent way since the MakerBong first showed up on Thingiverse, the digital-design hub. That was three years ago. It was by all accounts the first user-created specs for printable paraphernalia, and it likewise spurred some of the initial chatter over the legal uncertainties of a near-future where every home--maybe--has a printer.
Will our repositories be searched for the presence of "illegal objects"? Will repository operators ask submitters to delete suspected items for fear of the authorities? Will questionable content migrate from public repositories into private libraries run by secret cabals?
It's hard to say. The thing to remember is that 3D printing--nevermind how it'll blow up the next generation of "glass"--is still quite new. So those are all still valid questions.
All I know is that today, searching "bong" on Thingiverse yields almost two-dozen things--take your pick of scalable smoking apparati, from the IceBong to the SkullBong to my favorite, the MarioBong.
Let's-a go (via hendo420)
Don't let the numbers fool you. To date, the MarioBong design has been downloaded 84 times; the SkullBong, 41 times; the IceBong, 789 times. Hardly disruptive figures.
But look a bit deeper and what you start to see is a budding interest in giving other aspects of cannabis culture the 3D-printed treatment. Kind makers are forgoing the patchouli-vibes of the token head shop, exchanging specs for what any sly, self-respecting stoner will tell you are essentials in the tacklebox of life, like dugouts and grinders.
3D-printed grinder (via smellsquitenice)
So who knows. It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
Not to say traditional artisans wrapped up in the weed business--I'm thinking of glass blowers, mainly, or whoever's the stand-in for a boutique gun maker--are green with envy at the sight of a chill 'lil 3D-printed pipe or bubbler. I'm sure the online enforcers aren't.
But with Colorado and Washington State recently legalizing weed to varying degrees, even if 3D-printed highs are still the novelty of early adopters you can almost sense the smoke lifting on a new breed of DIY greenery. The means to rapidly scale-up domestic cannabis industries from the base are right here, right now--not like your guy, who said he'd be around three hours ago.
Top: IceBong (via D4skalosM)
Reach Brian at email@example.com. @thebanderson