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Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts 528

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-to-print-arms dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes in with a story at Forbes about Makerbot deleting gun component blueprints on Thingiverse. "In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, the 3D-printing firm Makerbot has deleted a collection of blueprints for gun components from Thingiverse, its popular user-generated content website that hosts 3D-printable files. Though Thingiverse has long banned designs for weapons and their components in its terms of service, it rarely enforced the rule until the last few days, when the company's lawyer sent notices to users that their software models for gun parts were being purged from the site. Gun control advocates were especially concerned about the appearance of lower receivers for semi-automatic weapons that have appeared on Thingiverse. The lower receiver is the the 'body' of a gun, and its most regulated component. So 3D-printing that piece at home and attaching other parts ordered by mail might allow a lethal weapon to be obtained without any legal barriers or identification. Makerbot's move to delete those files may have been inspired in part by a group calling itself Defense Distributed, which announced its intention to create an entirely 3D-printable gun in August and planned to potentially upload it to Thingiverse. Defense Distributed says it's not deterred by Makerbot's move and will host the plans on its own site."
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Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:08AM (#42346543)

    remove something from the internet.

    • by jythie (914043) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:39AM (#42346775)
      No, but they can remove it from the database they control and host. I do not get the impression they are trying to wipe the concept out, they have just decided that they will not allow such devices on their privately run service.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        But the whole craziness following CN makes no damned logical sense! We are supposed to be geeks and look at things logically so lets do that.

        1.-The woman whose guns the dirtbag son stole was 100% allowed to own guns and had passed EVERY background check, so tougher laws would do nothing as she was clean as a whistle, not so much as a speeding ticket from what I've seen of the case. 2.- The most important thing which is CRIMINALS DON'T CARE ABOUT LAWS which is why they are called criminals and not Easter Bu

    • by guises (2423402) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:49AM (#42346849)
      No, but you can remove something from Thingiverse. If your objective is dissociate yourself from the ideology, rather than eliminate the information altogether, than this is effective.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:08AM (#42346545) Homepage Journal

    However they feel about gun parts personally, being involved in distributing them could one day be a very bad thing. It's best to leave that to special-purpose sites.

    • by decora (1710862) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:38AM (#42346767) Journal

      before this latest school shooting they really did not care. there has been an AR-15 receiver up on thingiverse for more than a year.
      and there have been several school shootings in that time.

      thingiverse even conducted a poll a few months back, the subject was whether or not users wanted to allow weapons on the site. i dont know the result of the poll, but the practical effect was nothing - they left those items up.

      now all of a sudden they took them down.

      nevermind 30+ children died today in automobile accidents (statistical average).

      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        And automobile deaths are on the rise while school shootings are getting more rare over the last 25 years.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        nevermind 30+ children died today in automobile accidents (statistical average).

        I agree with you completely, assuming I understand where you're going with this, and I probably do. Our society has chosen to put cars everywhere, but a gun rack is now stigmatizing anywhere but bumfuck. And let's not forget that cars are major polluters (not least as they are made of steel) and have many downstream ecological (and other) consequences which could, were we to care, be calculated in miles per death though perhaps not very precisely. And yet, we don't, because the automobile manufacturers' lob

    • Given the quality of printed items, I doubt somebody could build a gun out of them that would not blow up in the shooter's own face...

      A colleague of mine tried to print lego bricks with his 3d printer. They didn't mesh... He tried repeatedly, and often his pieces would separate into layers in the middle of the print job...

      Publishing gun parts on thingyverse is more a political statement than a serious way of bringing guns into the hands of the people.

  • How Trendy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How very trendy of them.

    It seems that absolutely no one is above using this tragedy for getting attention for themselves and their own gain.

    It's like they say; a politician should never fail to take advantage of a disaster.

  • by berryjw (1071694) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @08:34AM (#42346729)
    I don't blame anyone for worrying about liabilities, but Pandora's Box is open, there's no closing it now. The specs for many, many firearms parts are readily available, and anyone who wants to take the time to translate those designs to 3D, is going to be able to print them, and distribute the designs. I'm waiting for someone to notice they can print 3D magazines, of any capacity they want. Yes, this is another opportunity to learn that all we do for good, can and will be perverted to bad. Are we willing to throw out the whole 3D printing movement as a result?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't blame anyone for worrying about liabilities, but Pandora's Box is open, there's no closing it now. The specs for many, many firearms parts are readily available, and anyone who wants to take the time to translate those designs to 3D, is going to be able to print them, and distribute the designs. I'm waiting for someone to notice they can print 3D magazines, of any capacity they want. Yes, this is another opportunity to learn that all we do for good, can and will be perverted to bad. Are we willing to throw out the whole 3D printing movement as a result?

      Maybe the argument that we all need to be having is: "Does prohibition of objects ever work?" Alcohol, Drugs, Guns, Porn, Books, etc?

    • by SirGarlon (845873)

      Are we willing to throw out the whole 3D printing movement as a result?

      The Slashdot readership probably isn't willing to do that, but broader society might be. Consider the pieces that are in place:

      1. 3D printing has the potential to transform (some would say "destroy") both manufacturing and retail. Big business has much to fear from progress in this technology.
      2. Since 9/11, politicians have found it useful to play to people's fears and spend billions on security theatre.
      3. America has a longstanding tradition of
  • No matter what it is they're trying to censor. Banning citizens from having access to certain technology and equipment serves only to preserve a despot's grip on power. There is no shortage of ways to kill 20 kids in a primary school and unless you're going to pour all your energy into creating a fully childproofed totalitarian big brother state where people in general aren't allowed to do things like North Korea then restricting people won't prevent these tragedies from happening.
  • 3D printers, makers, and the like have become enormously popular among libertarian types. There was quite a lot of attention devoted to these projects at last year's PorcFest [porcfest.com] gathering (1000+ attendees) for one.

    Good to know which groups to dis-invite and boycott this year.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      I like how libertarians are all in favor of liberty, until you do something they don't like. Especially because, if this wasn't about guns, but rather, say, sex toys, the libertarians would be supporting their right to decide what content they host unquestionably.

      If a libertarian group would dis-invite someone for exercising their rights and liberty, then that group is clearly NOT a libertarian group.

  • I don't know much about gun technology, so maybe somebody can explain why the lower receiver is the controlled part. Why not the barrel? It seems to me that the barrel is the heart and soul of a gun. You can make a gun with just a barrel and nothing else: it's called a cannon.

    Furthermore, I would think the barrel would be the hardest part to manufacture, given the forces and temperatures it must endure, and having to be perfectly straight, and rifled. I would imagine that 3-D printed barrels are probabl

    • I suspect that it was picked as the "gun" for the AR-15 because it's where the "logic" goes. That is, the trigger is there, the safety, and anything that selects between different firing modes.

      Fully automatic (machine gun) and burst (three shots with one pull of the trigger) modes of fire would be implemented in the lower receiver, for example. These are heavily regulated. So it's in the ATF's interests to distinguish between AR-15 lower receivers that have these features implemented, and those that don'

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