3D Printing: The Good And The Bad
Start writing a post

There is something “new” that has made and will continue to change the world: 3D printing. Medical professionals, engineers, and hobbyists alike can all find a use for this new technology and it is changing the way we do, well, anything really. But as with anything “new,” we get caught up in the excitement and all of the good things that this thing can provide for us. But it’s time to take a step back and look at the big picture and look into the future about what we are getting ourselves into -- both the good and the bad sides.

Tumbles, a puppy born without his front legs, had is life changed for the better because of 3D printing. He was born in a shelter in Ohio where someone submitted a design to the Ohio University Innovation Center. This design was for a custom wheelchair that would allow Tumbles to be mobile. Tumbles is now working on strengthening his back legs so that he will be able to hold himself up and push himself in his wheelchair.

Take a peak into the medical field and you’ll see some of the huge advancements 3D printing has made so far. For example, a teenage girl in South Korea developed a common type of bone cancer in her pelvis. Because of her age, removing the tumor in and near her bones may have affected her mobility, so the doctors printed her a new 3D pelvis. This not only preserved the shape of her spine, but she made a quick recovery and the surgery time was cut down from the typical eight hours to about six hours.

But it may be time to pause and think about the hazards that come with 3D printing. Shirin Oskui, a graduate student at the University of California Riverside was using a 3D printer to make small disks to aid her in studying zebrafish. However, the zebrafish she was using died within a week. Oskui and her advisor, William Glover, set out to find out what was causing the death of the fish.

They created disks using the 3D printer using the two most common methods of 3D printing: stereolithography and deposition modeling. The stereolithography method uses a light to cure a liquid into solid material while deposition modeling melts and already cured plastic to create solid material.

As it turns out, parts from both types of printers were toxic to the fish, but parts from the stereolithography printer were more toxic than the parts from the deposition modeling printer. The fish exposed to the parts made with the stereolithography printer showed some minor color mutations, swelling, and died within a week. The good news is that exposing the printed parts with an ultraviolet light for an hour may mitigate some of these effects.

It may be too early to tell what exactly this means to humans. The reason this study in particular draws concern is because zebrafish are biologically similar to humans and have a very similar genome. They are often used in research to test a substance’s potential toxicity to humans.

This if course raises questions about not only safety of humans, but safety of the environment as well. We need to have a proper way to dispose of the possibly hazardous material that could flow into waterways or into the air. A quick Google search will show you possible ideas for how to handle 3D printing waste, but we are still doing research for the best one since 3D printing is still so new.

3D printers are easily accessible to the public now and you can easily go on Amazon and buy one for yourself for under $700. And why wouldn’t you? Once you master it, you can have the power of total customization in your own home. The problem with this is there has not been a real outreach to the public to inform them of how to properly dispose of 3D printer waste. Recycling seems to be a popular choice, which is a positive outcome!

3D printing really is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and so are a lot of things. It’s even been argued it could "help power a third industrial revolution". But before any of that, we need to make sure that we are informed about environmental, animal, and human health hazards. Good comes with bad, but thinking about it early on will save us a lot of trouble later.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments