- Jan 21, 2011
This is pretty cool. I want a 3D printer
Download this bong: 3D printer templates for getting your buzz on
by Lee Hutchinson - Mar 5 2013, 10:41am PST
It's-a me, Bong-io!
3D printers are gaining in popularity, with uses spanning the spectrum from moon bases to firearms, but there's another area where the ability to construct complex shapes is beginning to provide benefits: getting high.
Online magazine Motherboard has published the story about the slow but inevitable rise of 3D-printed bongs. MakerBot's Thingiverse site returns almost two dozen template results when searching for "bong," all of which are downloadable in STL format and printable on tons of different 3D printers.
Common resin-based 3D printers can't create glass, so a water pipe produced from these templates wouldn't be entirely print-n-toke, but most appear to be ready to go as soon as glass pipes are added. The descriptions for many of the pipes indicate that they should be printed with PLA, which the Ice Bong creator notes "is biodegradable and poses no health risk and also has no smell."
Enlarge / I'm kinda getting high just looking at this thing.
Questions of convenience aside, the 3D printing of what could be called "drug paraphernalia" raises an interesting set of issues which parallel those raised by firearms printing. As marijuana legalization gains traction at the state level, what is the responsibility of 3D repositories like Thingiverse to police themselves? Is it "moral" to allow the storing and downloading of 3D bong templates but not firearm templates? Casual marijuana smokers consistently tout the harmlessness of the drug, but those opposed to its legalization point to the dangers of abuse; on the opposite side of that coin, firearm enthusiasts push their own hobby's safety and the dangers of restricting gun ownership. Each group may be seen by the other as somewhat hypocritical: a gun is a tool, but gun control proponents point out that guns are tools designed to kill.
Moral issues aside, 3D printing lowers barriers to construction and actually lowers far more barriers for firearm creation than for bong creationit's a lot harder and more expensive to buy a gun than to buy a bong, and there are legal issues around gun ownership that 3D printing can circumvent. It's not illegal to purchase an "unlicensed" bong (though you might get tossed out of the head shop if you can't stop asking the clerk how high the bong will get you), but would fast access to a 3D printer and a template really encourage drug use?
From a purely practical perspective, the answer right now is "no," if only because a bong isn't necessary to use marijuana. Though 3D printing might lower the entry barrier to procuring a bong (especially if you're under 18 in the USA and can't purchase one), actually having a 3D printer itself is quite a barrier. This is reflected by the download numbers for the bong templates on Thingiverse: as Motherboard notes, the IceBong's download count of 789 isn't exactly "disruptive." But as 3D printing matures, the technology may become exactly that. Scanners and copiers today include methods to prevent them from counterfeiting currency; it's conceivable that legal mandates might spring up to encourage 3D printer manufacturers to ensure their devices don't print "illegal" or "immoral" patterns.
In other words, now would probably be a good time to get your 3D bong on, before the man steps in and harshes your mellow.