Software: The Glue of the Apocalypse


CAD is hard.

The micro-manufacturing revolution isn’t going to happen unless people get A LOT of help with the cad side of things… so for a while I’ve been keeping 1/2 an eye on a sort of Lego-Layer… a layer where people can “make their own designs”, out of pre-made parts, where the heavy-lifting CAD-wise has been done.

Enter Sandboxr.

Which firstly is quite a nice looking website, looks like bootstrap, but appears to be (bless) table-based, so who knows what it going on there. That aside, this is How To Do It, I think. Big and Simple.

Nice looking prints as well – which is (apparently) why they need $120k from Kickstarter. To get their own colour 3D printer.

Beyond that though, it’s quite a neat parametric system… and I think this slider-thing is going to be the way things go. I think this because I’ve written a couple of really simple versions myself, that I’ll launch, once I get a DRM key for my laser cutter (I’m having to buy LaserCutter 5.3 (which sucks) twice (which sucks)).

Still… pretty neat… trivial, but pretty neat. They’re aiming to be a showcase for designers… to flog copies of their wares… which I don’t have a problem with because they’re actually selling physical instantiations, rather than selling copies of bit-patterns (a practice which should be roundly mocked)

So it looks like the 3D Printing gun guy is attempting to set up a Pirate Bay of 3D Printing

… although to be fair, The Pirate Bay is already the Pirate Bay of 3D printing… though without the bells and whistles that Defcad claim to eventually offer.

I kindof like where this guy is coming from…
and I kindof don’t.

This bit is good:

“But with 3D printed firearms, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, drones, and medical devices, the stakes will suddenly get much higher. Because 3DP is not about reviving manufacturing jobs or competing with assembly lines on cost. It is not about disrupting manufacturing. It is about disrupting copyright, IP, and regulation. It is about printing items whose prices have been set to infinity. It is about disrupting man-made forms of artificial scarcity”

Good on him – making a stand over something that needs to be made a stand over “it’s about disrupting copyright”…

… but disrupting regulation? That is not such a good idea. If it wasn’t for regulation we’d still be dumping CFCs into the Ozone Layer. Corporations/Industry need to be regulated – every bit as much as drivers need to be dissuaded from driving drunk. The trouble with this guy is that he appears to be a libertarian, and libertarians are idiots.

He also appears to be a Little-American Libertarian which doesn’t bode well. Insular conservatives who don’t seem to realise that there’s a world outside the US. So he makes a big deal about donating 50% of the proceeds from a deliberate rounding-error to VFW… aka “Veterans of Foreign Wars”. Got bad news for you sunshine: The “Foreign” bit is where 95% of the people on this planet, and therefore The Internet live. The Internet is not American. The revolution is not American. It’s all of us… and the rest of us don’t want grown-up teenage-boys running around with guns… whether they’re stay-at-home gun-nuts, or soldiers “defending their country” by attacking other people’s.

Americans get duped into worshipping their soldiers by politicians trying to deflect criticism from insane budgets and insaner wars. Donating money to US ex-soldiers may play well to the home-crowd, but the rest of the world would really just prefer that US military would stop attacking people. I’m guessing a fair few Americans feel the same.

And then there’s the video of course. That kindof sinks the whole notion:

He watches too much television. Compare and contrast to the movie about the Pirate Bay guys… sometimes they’re smart, sometimes they’re stupid but they are who they are. They don’t sound like they’re trying to do voice-overs for History Channel programs about UFOs visiting the Ancient Egyptians. I think he’s going to come a cropper… because he’s pretending to be something he’s not… but what he’s pretending to be, so many people (so badly) want, that he’s being forced to become it… and the thing about the excoriating gaze of the internet, is that LSD-like, it will find your cracks, and blow them 40ft apart if you’re putting on an act. The Koby guy went to pieces; Julian Assange did not. To live outside the law, you must be honest.

Though to be fair, he comes across a lot better in this… but anyone who talks about “Liberty” is (these days) buying into something fake. It’s a very odd notion of freedom, which we once heard a great deal of in defence of the slave-trade. There’s something Orwellian about the way they need to say “Liberty” rather than “Freedom”. Again, “Liberty” appears to be a very conservative American idea, loaded with revisionist history… and one which the Koch brothers put a great deal of money into. It reeks of bullshit.

So I can see this ending messily – which is a pity, because the actual “thing” he’s making might be very worthwhile, and I really admire the no-quarters stand he’s making.

But give me the Pirate Bay any day.