• Christopher Reyes

    It would seem to me that you are opening a Pandora’s box of privacy issues by now being able to track EVERYTHING ever made or printed to the source manufacturing item. Not to mention that the information embedded would require registration and tracking of all those sources. I shouldn’t have to be registered to print Yoda just because I have the possibility of printing a gun.

  • Sid Sandback

    Andre, Does this mean you are also advocating these same rules and regulations on all CNC milling and CNC lathe machines in North America as well? All of these parts are easily made on CNC mills and other machines as well, not just 3D printers. As Chris says, you are trying to open a Pandora’s box and if you are trying to regulate one part of an industry, you better do your research on other parts as well.

  • Jon Bunker

    So… how does this work if I design my own gun (or whatever?) in a 3D program, using knowledge only (not files) from other sources, then print it using filament (or whatever) which I never use for anything else, and dispose of filament and file?
    If I am really paranoid, I do all this offline and crash and burn everything…


  • Digits2Widgets

    These gun files when printed on any home printer will explode in your hand.

    Even printed on the precise industrial printer that Mr. Wilson used (if you can find any bureau with the missing morals to print it for you) it will explode in your hand after less than 10 rounds. Added to which it doesn’t shoot straight.

    To call these thing “guns” is a joke. They’re just lethal toys.

    Do please read this:


    and maybe even listen to the recording of the BBC World Service discussion programme where we have the privilege of speaking to Mr. Wilson.

    This whole debate would be relevant if these objects were viable firearms. Currently, they are not.

  • hrfrerich

    “Hey let’s take every word document that anyone types – ever – read it, and if it contains no-no words, lets hide some hidden microprint in the footer”

    “Great idea boss!” *sigh…*

  • Andre

    Hey all, Andre here. Thanks for the comments – I had hoped
    for/knew that 3D Printing Industry would spark off this kind of debate. A
    couple of thoughts:

    @Digits2Widgets – great point and good to hear from you!
    Yes, it’s easier to buy guns or make them in metal workshops. But that doesn’t mean
    that this tech (like others) won’t improve. It’s a potential reality we
    should/have to prepare for.

    @hrfrenrich – you are aware this is happening already with
    printers right? Watermarking objects printed on laser printers is not new

    Yes, @Jon and @Sid – this is Pandora’s box but it’s better
    we open it than keep it hidden. Two reasons: (1) There was for a time a thought
    to close/control 3D printing b/c of the gun threat (until sensible people
    talked them out of it). I would prefer a monitored world to a closed one. (2)
    We wanted to prove that there are unintended consequences that might be of
    benefit – we could (potentially) make forensics better thanks to 3D printed guns
    (and obviously, examples of unintended
    consequences in general are good: we wouldn’t want to be afraid of tech
    advances). Obviously we need to discuss whether those gains are worth the real/perceived
    loss of liberty – that’s why we posted the article here. I’d love to get more
    people involved in the discussion. Suggestions on how to do that are welcome.

  • Kevin Quigley

    These are relevant points but the issue is clouded by the gun question. A far more relevant issue is copying of original designer data and subsequent loss of earnings for the originator. Another critical area is in counterfeit engineered components. Industrial processes like SLM and SLS are used to produce parts that go onto end user products like cars and aircraft (yes, indeed they are) and in situations like this there are opportunities to copy and use a cheaper source or lower coat material rather than the OEM supplied version.

    AM machine makers must develop methods of identifying individual parts printed on individual printers. This is critical for batch traceability, counterfeit prevention and ensuring originators are paid.

    Personally I think this has to be a physical trace element so that you can pick up a part and have it tested to identify the source. There are many ways to achieve this. It is already done in other sectors. I am not convinced about the so called internal coding built into the parts. This seems too cumbersome to me, not to mention requiring new detection systems.