3Dlt.com, a sort of stock photo-like site for 3D printing templates has created a marketplace for professional designers, students, companies, and consumers–however their mission is rooted in crowdsourcing solutions for solving some of the ‘world’s biggest problems’. Their current initiative? An Innovation Challenge using 3D Printing to improve gun safety with the finalists winning a set percentage of the funds raised through crowdsourcing site Indiegogo.

Innovation Challenge: A 3D Printable Gun Safety Device

The argument centered around 3D printing and gun laws is hot in congress right now-especially as New York Representative Steve Israel moves forward with his plan to revamp the Undetectable Firearms Act that includes the ban of 3D printed high-capacity magazines…not to mention President Obama’s recently signed Gun Bill.



Less than a week ago, homemade 3D printed gun part enthusiasts Defense Distributed used a 3D printer to print and test an ammunition magazine for an AR semi-automatic rifle–effectively loading and firing 86 rounds from a 30 round clip.


According to Rep. Israel:

“Background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print high-capacity magazines at home. 3D printing is a new technology that shows great promise, but also requires new guidelines. Law enforcement officials should have the power to stop high-capacity magazines from proliferating with a Google search.”


So is this the beginning of a 3D printing SOPA-like initiative?

Not entirely.

In an interview with Forbes Magazine on Thursday, when asked if he planned some of kind of digital rights management or restrictions on 3D printers, Rep. Israel stated:

“Zero. We’re not going there. You want to download the blueprint, we’re not going near that. You want to buy a 3D printer and make something, buy a 3D printer and make something. But if you’re going to download a blueprint for a plastic weapon that can be brought onto an airplane, there’s a penalty to be paid.”

Enter 3Dlt.com on their Innovation Challenge site:

“The concept of 3D printed firearms is getting lots of press coverage and exposure right now. The eventual availability of 3D printed guns creates an ever greater need for improved gun safety. While some see 3D printing as a problem, we think it can also be part of the solution. All entries in our challenge will be vetted and only those with potential to improve safety will be accepted.”

Voting will be split 50/50 between their curated panel of judges and the general public and the winners will pay out as follows:

    -Grand Prize: 25% of crowdfunded total 
    -2nd Place: 15% of crowdfunded total 
    -3rd Place: 5% of crowdfunded total 
    -Honorable Mention: 2.5% of crowdfunded total 
    -Other awards: 2.5% of crowdfunded total 

Innovation Challenge Rules

    -Products must have a 3D printed component and not be purely software or web services in origin. 
    -Contestants must provide the design file (.STL), thumbnail images, and two 3D printed copies of their submission 
    -Existing products / updates to existing products will be accepted – but must be 3D printable 
    -Product must not have an existing Kickstarter, Indiegogo or other crowdfunding effort already underway. 
    -All submissions will be vetted by our team of firearms safety experts. 
    -Rules are subject to change and qualified submissions are not guaranteed for inclusion.

Innovation Challenge Timeline

    -Indiegogo campaign:  January 18 – March 18, 2013.
    -Announce prize amounts and details:  March 21, 2013
    -Open the Innovation Challenge:  April 1, 2013  
    -Close the Innovation Challenge:  April 30, 2013  
    -Voting:  May 1 – May 31, 2013  
    -Announce winners:  June 17, 2013

The challenge opens April 1, 2013 but you can help contribute to the campaign here.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.