What is 3D printing doing lately in creating opportunities for people to make things that perhaps they shouldn't? While we have every freedom to create controversial items on 3D printers from guns to sex toys, the idea of creating a skeleton key to open locks in high-security places is new. This was demonstrated recently by two engineers/lock pickers who managed to create a software that makes a "bump key" on a 3D printer. These can supposedly open any kind of lock, with the catch being you need a photo of the lock in order for the key to fit.
While you might bristle at something like this being available, it's already been made available to some extent through places like Shapeways. They have no restrictions on keys made there, and it poses yet another dilemma on what can be done with 3D printing in risking the security of places and people.
But there may be a solution, just like there's a solution to a lot of things that might be considered a risk after being created on a 3D printer. With a wide open creative path ahead, what can be done to help prevent the possibility of a 3D bump key threatening a high-security facility?
Living Up to the Word "High Security"
The good news behind all this is the software produced by those above two engineers won't be released publicly. Unless there's inside theft of the software, there won't be a widely available software around to threaten the security of our nation's most secure places. However, when you say your facility is truly "high security", you have to mean it.
Those engineers intended to create their software to alert high-security facilities to the possibilities of their locks being compromised. Experts in locks, though, say electronic parts and traditionally produced locks can be created to avert 3D-printed bump keys. It's a process our nation's top secret facilities need to look into in order to acknowledge 3D printing helps create things we didn't expect.
With the proof that 3D-printed bump keys can be averted, will it avert all worries about what 3D printing could create in the future? Some worry about 3D-printed guns, which has no restrictions quite yet. Once 3D printing becomes mainstream, it's certainly possible some state laws will be enacted on limiting what you can create. This includes individuals making weapons of mass destruction, which is already being done in the upper echelons of the military.
It takes warnings like the 3D-printed bump key above to set things in motion so we're all aware and not get complacent. It's the path the world may have to take in order to remind just what 3D printers are capable of creating over the next few years.