For the most part, if you are creating a 3D printed model on an FDM printer, of for instance, a gun, a hammer, or a grapefruit, the majority of people would be able to pinpoint that it is not the real thing, probably even if they were standing 20 feet away, and didn’t have their glasses on. The usual lack of multiple colors, as well as the visibility of the layers that an FDM printer will leave behind is a dead giveaway.
Even some of the more expensive $250,000+ machines, usually will not have the proper color distributions to fool someone within several feet of the 3D printed object. How about Mcor Technologies’ Iris 3D printer though?
For those of you unfamiliar with the company, or their machines, we did a nice piece on their innovative paper 3D printers earlier this year. The machines print using sheets of common printer paper, which are cut and colored in a two-step process. What the Mcor Iris is able to do is create rich colored, fine layer prints, which typically turn out looking almost identical to the object(s) which were scanned or modeled to be printed.
Right now, if you have not seen a fabrication from one of these printers, in person, you are probably doubting me. You don’t have to believe me though, but how about airport security personnel?
Recently one of Mcor Technologies’ sales managers was traveling with a 3D printed paper hammer in their carry-on luggage. As they made their way through the security checkpoint, something rather interesting took place. In an email sent to the company after the event took place, the sales rep described what had just happened:
“Last night at the airport, security removed the hammer from my case. When I said it was made of paper he could not believe it, although he did comment that only the weight told him it was not real. He sent for his supervisor – same reaction. They then started to show everyone around and began to talk about making customized tools, parts for cars, phones, was this printer that produced the hammer model really made in Ireland, and many other comments.
In the end the hammer still had to be handed in as I could not take it in my hand luggage because, ‘it looked too real; it could be used to threaten people.’
Sorry I have lost the part. I’ll need another, but if it you could send by DHL it might be safer!”
The hammer looked so incredibly real that the airport security immediately questioned the item. After finally realizing that they had been fooled, they then came to the conclusion that it looked so real that such a device could be used to threaten other passengers, or airline employees, who would not realize that it was only made from paper, ink, and glue.
This we hear, was not the first time such a misunderstanding has taken place related to MCor’s 3D printed objects. In fact, the the co-founders of the company, the MacCormack family, have experienced similar events themselves. Luckily they had checked luggage as well, which they were able to transfer the prints to, instead of handing them over to security, who likely took the objects home to show them off to their buddies.
Check out some of the other objects which are actually 3D printed by Mcor below. Let us know what you think of this story in the Mcor forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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