Blockchain 3D Printing

Recently, a Manhattan-based additive manufacturing software company unveiled an innovative blockchain technology for 3D printing. The solution is designed to prevent IP theft and make production processes nimbler.

This platform combines patented watermarking and blockchain technology to address the encryption, authentication, and transaction issues of 3DP digital designs. The platform also provides an easy-to-use, trustworthy, and transparent authentication channel for users.

Security

Blockchain 3D printing technology is a powerful security tool that can be used to track the origin of a design and its evolution. This technology will also provide a timestamp for each change to the file, making it impossible to hack into the system and steal files or alter them.

To use this technology, the end-user uploads a 3D digital design (stereolithography: STL format or Object: OBJ format) to the platform website on their own or through the third-party 3DP service provider website (API access). Then, the backend cloud blockchain storage medium will write the watermark encryption algorithm and sovereignty information into the file.

Then, the authorized printer extracts the “fingerprints” of the uploaded file and verifies them using a whitelist (see Figure 2). This process will ensure that the model is authentic and credible before it is printed. In this way, the tamper-resistant features of the blockchain can be applied to the 3D printing of terminal parts to prevent counterfeits and make people more confident about their usage.

Accessibility

Blockchain is best known as the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but it can also serve as a security ‘backbone’ for additive manufacturing. In addition to protecting the identity of 3D printing files, blockchain technology ensures that these files cannot be altered or stolen by malicious actors. This means that hackers would have to hack every computer or printer that contains the file, which is almost impossible.

This research takes advantage of platformisation and blockchain architecture to provide a convenient and reliable 3DP encryption authentication platform for commercial end customers. It is mainly based on a self-developed 3D digital design watermark encryption algorithm and computational visual recognition technology, which can encrypt and authenticate the sovereign information of uploaded 3DP digital designs.

It also supports front-end services application for users through a web and smartphone portal or third-party website API interfaces, including 3DP digital design file storage service, 3DP digital design transaction data service and user management. Moreover, it has been successfully implemented via a pilot site of Fabru GmbH, which is a leading European manufacturer of 3D printers and filament.

Bartering

As a distributed system of value, blockchain is perfect for bartering 3d printing files. It’s secure, immutable, and transparent, so parties can exchange products or services on a level playing field. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for intermediaries and reduces transaction costs.

A watermarking process incorporated into the blockchain could make it easy to track an asset’s history. Even small modifications to the file’s data would result in a new hash, which makes it impossible for counterfeiting or fraud to occur.

In addition to preventing IP theft, blockchain technology can improve the overall productivity of additive manufacturing. This is because it can help manufacturers respond quickly to customer demand by enabling them to spin up production in their own neighborhoods with locally available printers. However, this will require significant technological improvements to permissionless blockchains so they can be scalable. Nevertheless, companies such as 3D-TOKEN are already working towards this goal. The company plans to integrate blockchain technology into a global network of local 3D printers.

Transparency

The blockchain technology allows for transparency, as all transactions are visible to the public. This feature can help reduce fraud, terrorist financing and money laundering. The blockchain also has the potential to make supply chains more secure and efficient. The system can eliminate the need for intermediaries, reducing costs and facilitating more sustainable practices.

The blockchain is particularly useful in complex, data-intensive industries or processes. In addition to providing a record of transaction history, the blockchain is immutable, which can prevent hackers from tampering with data. In addition, the blockchain can provide a complete timestamp record for all the changes made to a file.

The blockchain is a popular platform for cryptocurrencies, but its potential use extends to other types of manufacturing. For example, Wipro has developed a solution that uses blockchain to watermark 3D designs and protect their copyrights. This can improve transparency and authentication in additive manufacturing. The blockchain can also improve the traceability of printing runs.

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