Life in 3D
After the events in Newtown, the gun control debate has taken on a new urgency. Suddenly 3D-printed firearms look a lot less like a thought-provoking experiment and more like a danger to the public–and Makerbot wants nothing to do with that.
CNET reports that just yesterday, it was possible to get the blueprints for the lower receiver of an AR15 semiautomatic rifle on Makerbot’s wiki Thingiverse. Today, there’s nothing but this listing where the downloads used to be. It’s part of a wider crackdown across the site on 3D-printed weapon parts.
Brooklyn-based 3D printing startup MakerBot lords over the Thingiverse, an online community where users can post printable designs, notes about their designs, and collaborate on open source projects. The design database has reached 15,000 designs, a rep said in an email, including the impressive 3D-printed clock that MakerBot founder Bre Pettis just demo’ed at TED2012.
The clock, developed by Thingiverse users, is on the sophisticated side of the thousands of designs in the Thingiverse, but it gives us a glimpse at the full power of the Makerbot. The creation myth goes like this: Mathieu Glachant, a.k.a. Thingiverse user Syvwlch, created a 3D model for an escapement—the part that activates the clock’s pendulum and makes it tick—and posted it on Thingiverse. But he didn’t have a MakerBot to print it.