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    The 3D-Printed Gun Store Is Open for Business

    Written by

    Adam Clark Estes

    A lot of people wondered if the 3D-printed gun would ever become a reality. It was about four months ago that a group of law students in Texas set out to design and contruct a gun using a 3D printer, then post the CAD files online so that anybody with the right equipment could do the same. They called themselves Defense Distributed and the gun gig the Wiki Weapons Project. "Guns for all!" seems to be their mission, but somebody beat them to it. The 3D printing company Makerbot revealed as much when it purged a number of gun designs from Thingiverse, their library of user-generated models for 3D printing. The site's terms of service forbids any design that "promotes illegal activities or contributes to the creation of weapons." Obviously, the gun files do.

    Amateur gunsmiths will be pleased to know that Defense Distributed has fixed the sudden shortage of free designs for 3D-printed guns. It's a website of course, just like the one that they promised to set up back earlier this year. They call it a "a home for fugitive information" and refer to the site as "a makeshift response to Makerbot Industries’ decision to censor files uploaded in good faith at Thingiverse, specifically firearms-related files." It's got all things that are good: a library of 14 different gun designs, including an AR-15; a chatroom for chatting with other gun enthusiasts; and a forum where it looks like nobody is posting anything.

    It's unclear how this affects Defense Distributed's other plans. Since their plan was to create a place where everybody could access 3D-printed gun designs — though the legality of actually printing a gun is very murky — so it would appear that the new website accomplishes that mission. The designs could use some work, however. As a test showed a couple of weeks ago, the 3D-printed Defense Distributed gun fell apart after firing just six rounds.