Thingiverse is by far the most popular Web site for those looking for 3D printing designs. The Web site, owned by Makerbot, offers designs for just about everything – including gun parts. Said parts were technically against the rules, but Makerbot rarely enforced it until the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Forbes reports that Thingiverse is now removing gun parts from the site. Those who had uploaded parts to the site were recently greeted with notices that said their parts were in violation of a rule that said users can’t promote “illegal activities” or “contribute to the creation of weapons.”
The removal of gun parts from Thingiverse shouldn’t be surprising. It was against the Web site’s policies, and the moderation team is only being spurred to act on the heels of a tragedy involving gun violence. 3D printing is already on some lawmakers’ radars because of the technology’s potential to make weapons, and Thingiverse undoubtedly wants to remain out of sight when lawmakers start investigating.
With all that being said, this isn’t the end of 3D printed guns. Thingiverse was just one portal for designs, albeit the most popular. There are a multitude of options for gunsmiths to upload designs including popular torrent trackers. The guys at Defense Distributed are also continuing their work on a 3D printed gun, and will be releasing a new video this weekend of their latest research into a 3D printed lower receiver for an AR-15 rifle.
Gun control is going to be at the forefront of national discussion early next year, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are going to propose a lot of legislation. 3D printed guns will undoubtedly be roped into the talks. It will be interesting to see what lawmakers will have to say about 3D printers at that time. Will there be more ignorance, or will lawmakers understand that gun parts are just one tiny sliver of the 3D printing equation?