A planned proposal to control the development and creation of certain 3D printed items in Japan may soon be on its way to implementation.
Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), one of the largest printing companies in Japan, has proposed a security program that would control the development and creation of 3D printed items and products. The program aims to stop the creation of what would otherwise be technically considered as illegal items, such as guns, licensed symbols or logos, and copyrighted icons or characters.
One of the most prominent issues tackled in 3D printing is the way it circumvents traditional property and ownership laws. Much like piracy, the internet opens the possibility for 3D printers to simply download and print 3D data of objects and items that are originally copyrighted or controlled by the law.
DNP’s initiative to face this issue is by controlling STL data, specifically creating a wide and comprehensive database of patterns, algorithms, and raw 3D data to compare to the original STL data. If the STL data contains certain design patterns that are similar to an item prohibited by the system, then it would not allow the data to be downloaded or used by the 3D printer. There are actually no clear cut definitions yet as to how exactly the system would internally work, but it will be designed to be able to compare and analyze STL data obtained from various sources, such as 3D scanners, CAD/CAM designs, and even pre-set STL data made from specific 3D objects.
The initiative plans to directly stop the free creation of otherwise dangerous items such as guns and certain bladed objects. In addition, it will also focus on the issue of ownership control in 3D printing. Distribution of certain copyrighted items, such as figures and specific character designs for example, will hopefully be also assessed and controlled by the security program.
DNP projects that their proposed program can be implemented as early as 2017.