While the politics of uploading and sharing gun components for 3D printing is still a murky topic both in design circles and political circles, MakerBot’s Thingiverse has taken it upon themselves to do their part by dropping guns from their 3D print file sharing site.
“Go to Thingiverse. There’s more things than you can 3D Print in a lifetime.”
-Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot
While printing an entire gun hasn’t necessarily been the argument as of late, the ability to 3d print gun parts is what has been the conflicting issue. Up until earlier this month, gun components such as lower receivers for multiple gun models were readily available online at Thingiverse. The discussion about guns and 3d printing is centered around the act of 3d printing from home an otherwise regulated component of a gun, and then purchasing the non-regulated components online, or similar.
“Correlation is not causation, but it seems pretty clear that the tragic shooting in [Connecticut] last week is the impetus for removal of some designs on Thingiverse.”
-Thingiverse user Michael Guslick
According to MakerBot spokesperson Jenifer Howard, “MakerBot’s focus is to empower the creative process and make things for good…Thingiverse has been going through an evolution recently and has had numerous changes and updates. Reviewing some of the content that violates Thingiverse’s Terms of Service is part of this process.”:
A Recent Search for ‘Gun’ on Thingiverse
Regardless of your stance around gun laws–especially since last week–more strict regulation is bound to happen at the high-court level with replicated products (note: already happening in the UK)…shoddy gun pieces or not.