3d Printing Technologies: Social Perspectives

6 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2016

See all articles by Deborah Lupton

Deborah Lupton

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Date Written: November 6, 2016


Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a process of fabricating objects using computer-aided design software and hardware that responds to instructions from the software. In this working paper, I provide an overview of 3D printing technologies, including their current and proposed uses. It has been suggested that these technologies offer a way of contributing to the reduction of environmental pollution by reducing the need for transporting goods and minimising waste and energy use in production and may lead to third industrial revolution, including in developing countries. The technologies have also been heralded as promoting open knowledge sharing and creative coding and as potentially contributing to participatory design opportunities and the democratisation of invention, as well as education and cultural heritage. The paper addresses the social, cultural, political and ethical issues concerning 3D printing and outlines directions for future sociological research on these technologies.

Suggested Citation

Lupton, Deborah, 3d Printing Technologies: Social Perspectives (November 6, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2865290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2865290

Deborah Lupton (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences ( email )


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