t1One of the biggest complaints we hear about 3D printing is that the only items that are easy to make are little trinkets, and that it’s too difficult to make anything of use. While I personally disagree with this assumption, there are certainly lots and lots of useless trinkets out there lying around, which people have made and then likely set aside to gather dust. Not all 3D printed trinkets are useless, though. Take for example a bunch of 3D printed piggy banks used recently as a gesture between international politicians.

Tsai Ing-wen, the incumbent chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in Taiwan, is running for president in the small island nation once again after a failed attempt in 2012 where she lost by a slim margin to incumbent Ma Ying-jeou. This is a rather interesting time in Taiwanese politics as two women are now competing for the nation’s presidency, from the two major political parties within the country.

Interestingly enough though, the same situation is entirely possible in the United States as well, as Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner for the Democratic Party, and Carly Fiorina is vying for the Republican nomination.

Yesterday Tsai Ing-wen had the opportunity to meet with four members of the US House of Representatives. The group, made up of Democrats and led by Florida Representative Lois Frankel, were all women as well.

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“Your visit comes at a very important time for Taiwan,” Tsai Ing-wen told the group of Democratic Congresswomen. “For the first time ever, two women are contending for the presidency for both major political parties. Although now there appears a chance of this happening in the US as well.”

While the Congresswomen were served white pouchong magnolia tea, they each found in front of them their very own 3D printed piggy banks, provided to them by Tsai Ing-wen. The banks, which are a symbol of her first campaign in which she gathered 87% of all her campaign contributions via 140,000 such banks, was a way to appeal to those lacking substantial wealth by providing them a means to contribute whatever they could. Tsai Ing-wen hopes that such banks will re-emerge in this year’s campaign as well, and perhaps even make their way into the US political fight.

The Taiwanese government has not stated where they had the banks printed or on which machines, however, they were clearly printed using an FDM/FFF process. Although I doubt we will see Clinton or Fiorina utilizing such an approach to fundraising any time soon, the idea certainly isn’t a bad one. Let’s hear your thoughts on this unique gesture between politicians. Discuss in the 3D Printed Piggybank forum thread on 3DPB.com. See the piggy banks in the video below of the gathering:

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