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Defense Distributed launch defcad.com
Here at Personalize we’ve always been slightly dubious about 3D printing gun parts made out of ABS. Putting a highly charged explosive in a plastic based material seems to us like a recipe for disaster, then again I’m scared of the noise party poppers make.
Defcad.org, operated by Defense Distributed, calls itself “The Island of misfit objects”. Basically it is an repository for the firearms related files Thingiverse decided to pull. The site has received so much publicity that they’ve decided to launch a for-profit version called Defcad.com.
This announcement made at SXSWI , not long after their arch-nemesis Makerbot announced their 3D Scanner, comes as no surprise seeing as Defcad.org became the second most used CAD repository in the Alexa rankings. However, to launch Defense Distributed need $100,000, they’ve launched their own fundraising form, which in no way bears any resemblance to a Kickstarter project (see the picture above). The idea of the site is an open-source, copyright free CAD repository aiming to turn the 3D modelling world on its head, just as Napster did with the music industry.
“If it can, it will be (subversive) because it allows us to make the important things. Not trinkets, not lawn gnomes, but the things that institutions and industries have an interest in keeping from us. Things like access, medical devices, drugs, goods, guns.” Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson
Every mainstream news agency that runs a 3D printing story goes straight for the “3D printed firearms” angle, it is sensationalism at a base level. Would you honestly trust your RepRap to print off a casing for an explosive that goes off at 180C, the same temperature it extrudes at? If the idea is to send parts to a bureau to print off on a professional machine with better materials surely this negates the secrecy and value for money a 3D printed gun is supposed to offer? When the technology in the home advances and materials drop in price 3D printed guns and a site like DEFCAD could represent a real problem...
"3D printing is a terrible technology for the working components of a gun. There is no tensile strength. It would blow up in your face. You can buy guns in Walmart -- they are not a scarce product. And if you want a good barrel you can go and get a bit of plumbing from the store." - Chris Anderson told The Economist's Technology Frontiers event