DNP Develops Security Program to Reduce 3D Printer Based Problems

If input data revealed as illegal, process curtailed immediately

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) has developed a security program for use with 3D printers that will refuse to accept directions to produce dangerous materials, such as firearms, or copy products, such as character merchandise, where risks exist as to copyright infringement or illegality.

The newly developed program works by using 3D printer production data to perform a high-speed judgment as to whether legal permission is necessary for the good to be produced, or on a blacklist of prohibited products. DNP will cooperate with enterprises that produce related-CAD software and those involved in information security, in order to promote the appropriate use of 3D printers, and will test the validity of the newly developed program, while also forwarding efforts aimed at practical use.

[Developmental Background]

In recent years remarkable technological advances have been seen in 3D printers and 3D scanners. Mass merchandisers are beginning to ship low price 3D printers for consumer use, and expectations exist for their use in a variety of different areas. At the same time, there are also increasing instances of the production of resin-based firearms, as a result of downloading manufacturing data, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), or Stereolithography (STL) data, from overseas websites. There are also concerns for the impact on business from copyright infringements, such as the copying of character merchandise using 3D scanners. In the face of conditions such as these, DNP has developed a security program to facilitate the appropriate use of 3D printers.

[Summary and Features of Security Program]

All 3D printers receive data transferred into a polygon data format*, formed by a trigonal combination of the CAD data, CG data and polygons that allow for three dimensional expressions, following which, product creation is performed by slicing into a laminated data format and reconstituting. The newly developed program has been designed to simplify STL data polygon input into the 3D printer into a unique algorithm, and to facilitate the high-speed matching with STL data polygon on blacklists. Similar high-speed matching can be performed against physical objects scanned with a 3D scanner, and when the reproduction of such objects is judged to be illegal, this new program makes it possible to stop the process.

* Used mainly with STL formats, but when outputting in full color, can also be used with formats, such as Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML).

Main Features

  • Accurate matching against blacklists can be performed, even in instances where 3D printer output data downloaded from websites has been subject to slight decoration or modification.
  • It is also possible to perform accurate matching against blacklists for real objects and objects molded by 3D printers.
  • Even in instances where the newly developed program is integrated with 3D printers or peripheral systems, there is no impact on 3D printer performance, and no detrimental impact on user convenience.
  • Using the newly developed program it is also possible to add and record data on blacklists in a timely manner, and restrict not only dangerous materials, such as firearms, but also the creation of merchandise using 3D printers, such as copyrighted character goods.

Use of the newly developed program also has the following merits for consumers and businesses:

  • Maintaining public order and preventing illegal possession of firearms.
  • Preventing distribution of counterfeit equipment and consumable parts, and of accidents, including damage to equipment where such parts are used.
  • Deterring declines in creator morale, and of a lowering in the quality of genuine products, due to the distribution of copied merchandise.

[Looking Ahead]

DNP announced this newly developed program at the 131st. workshop hosted by Japan Society of Printing Science and Technology entitled, The Spread of Printing Technology. DNP will also collaborate with 3D Printer-related companies and organizations, as well as those that provide information security services aiming for commercial use of the new program by 2017.

* Product prices, specification and service contents mentioned in this news release are current as of the date of publication. They may be changed at any time without notice.