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3-D printed gun project derailed by legal woes

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Mac Slavo
NBC News
Oct 2, 2012

After raising thousands of dollars to develop a free, 3-D-printable handgun, a group calling itself Defense Distributed has had to put its plans on hold, after the company providing their printing hardware refused to do business with them. It’s an early episode in what is likely to be a long controversy.

Defense Distributed is a loosely organized group that intends to explore the possibility of creating weapons entirely using 3-D printed parts — and providing the files to do so freely online. They are unrelated to another recent project that partially built an assault rifle that way, but the concept is similar.

The group originally tried to raise money to develop the Wiki Weapon, as they call it, on the crowd-funding website IndieGoGo. The site pulled the plug, however, before the $20,000 the group was hoping to collect was pledged. Undeterred, Defense Distributed solicited donations in the Bitcoin virtual currency, and soon achieved their funding goal.

With the money, they leased a powerful 3-D printer from a company called Stratasys. But before they even had a chance to take the device out of its box, Stratasys caught wind of what its hardware was going to be used for and canceled the contract, sending someone to pick up the printer immediately.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 2:55 am





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