On May 6, 2013 a small pro-weapons organization called Defense Distributed shared a useless plastic gun called “The Liberator”, available for anyone to download and potentially harm themselves with. Assuming they have access to both ammunition and a very expensive 3d printer.
A few days and 100k+ downloads later, the US Department of State got scared enough to order Defense Distributed to take down the file. Enthusiasts promptly moved the file to a torrent, tracked by The Pirate Bay, making it harder to regulate and creating significantly more publicity. Pirate Bay users could only maintain interest for approximately 4 pages of comments.
Perhaps the file on The Pirate Bay wasn’t the original? Perhaps someone made minor modifications to make it even more unusable than it already was? I had to wonder, and invited others to wonder with me.
…In response to the Liberator, I borrowed an idea from “One coffee cup a day” by producing several absurd variations on the original file. Ideally, they should make people feel like there’s nothing sacred or singular about “that 3d printed gun file” but that it’s something that can be remixed, appropriated, redirected, repurposed. That it’s not just “floating around out there”, or in the hands of a few people, that’s it’s not something to be feared, but treated critically, carefully, humorously, seriously….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!