UPS has been offering 3D printing services for a little while, but of course, these services come with a strict set of guidelines about what they will and won’t print for you. Naturally, just like going through airport security, weapons are at the top of the list of no-no’s.
Anything gun or gun part related and anything that can be used in the “design, development, manufacture, testing, construction, operation, or maintenance” of nuclear weapons, missile or rocket systems, unmanned air vehicles, and chemical and biological weapons tops their list of concerns. Another big concern is intellectual property issues, so they also have their bases covered there.
Most surprising, as reported by the Daily Dot, is that while UPS restricts 3D printing anything weapon-related, it does not have a company-wide policy restricting the printing of sex toys. Making love, not war, it seems, is their 3D printing policy, which also allows individual UPS store owners to implement store-specific rules and restrictions. (There are currently 100 stores offering, or will soon be offering 3D printing services.)
This is certainly an interesting development: do company officials know there is quite a boom in 3D printer sex toy design sites popping up? (Which makes sense when you consider that nothing is more personal than a person’s sexuality, and this personalization fits directly into the customized philosophy of the 3D printing scene.)
Maybe they know that they would stand to lose too much money if they ban an object that they claim “looks like a sex toy.” Or maybe they realize that the line between determining a sex toy and a non sex toy is a slippery one. Just think about it: is that a Japanese eggplant 3D printed for your child’s science project or a dildo?
While it seems that the UPS 3D printing guidelines are pretty cut and dry, it’s not without its kinks. Or kinkiness, I should say. Let’s put this simply enough: what would they do about a gun shaped dildo? Would they print it because it is obviously a dildo? Or would they refuse to because it is gun shaped? The list of weapon-like sex toys goes on, and your imagination is your only limit here. A challenging case study in policy loopholes, to be sure.
It will be interesting to see if UPS’s restrictions against 3D printing of weapons will pose a challenge to their sex toy policy over time. As the old saying goes, for some sex toy makers “There’s a thin line between love and hate,” and 3D printing enthusiasts may end up challenging that line. Let’s hear your thoughts on the recently policy announcements by UPS in the 3D printed Sex Toy & UPS forum thread on 3DPB.com.