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MakerBot Removes 3-D Printable Plastic Gun Parts From Its Online Database

Following the Sandy Hook School shooting, the company's database, Thingiverse, no longer contains gun parts.

The 3-D printer company MakerBot also runs and manages one of the biggest online sources of "patterns" for objects that can be printed out. (Pirate Bay calls such patterns "physibles.") Thingiverse contains plans for objects of all sorts, but MakerBot has decided to remove all plans for physibles that can be used to construct a gun. In an email to its users, MakerBot noted that its terms of service specifically forbid objects promoting "illegal activities or contributes to the creation of weapons, illegal materials or is otherwise objectionable."

Thingiverse users are free to create their own 3-D objects using standard software and upload them to Thingiverse to share with the community. Not long ago parts that could be used as part of the body of a semi-automatic rifle appeared in the database. Now that's changing. The company's attorney referenced the recent Sandy Hook School shooting in discussing the motivation for the move.

The arrival of gun parts in the 3-D printable world demonstrates how far ahead of various aspects of the law, from gun control to copyright, the 3-D printing industry is operating.

Do you believe the government will try to regulate 3-D printing? And should it be allowed to do so?