3D Printing

3D Printing Unites Hackers and Gun Rights Activists

Neither are fans of the controlling state

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Cyberculture icon Stewart Brand's famous notion that "information wants to be free" has been an almost ubiquitous refrain ever since utopian-minded hackers began populating computer networks in the 1980s. Today, 3D printing has given the phrase a whole new meaning, allowing raw data to become real world weapons with the click of a button. Cody R. Wilson, the antagonistic founder of Defense Distributed, is taking that idea to its logical — and hugely controversial — extreme.

Having recently obtained his federal manufacturing license, Wilson hopes to release files for the world's first fully 3D-printable firearm by the end of this month. His past progress has already thrown a major wrench into America's resurgent gun control debate, feeding doubts about the efficacy of renewed bans on undetectable firearms. But his reasoning, he claims, isn't really about the Second Amendment at all — it's about technological progress rendering the very concept of gun control meaningless.

"It's more radical for us," he told Motherboard in "Click Print Gun," a recent mini-doc about the dark side of the 3D printing revolution. "There are people all over the world downloading our files and we say 'good.' We say you should have access to this. You simply should."