3D printers are a veritable revolution. It is possible to print anything at home: from decorative objects to figurines or even artificial limbs. To do it, all you need to do is download the blueprint files for any of the millions of items available online.
Unfortunately, among these items are files to print real firearms. Accessible without restrictions and in just a few clicks, anyone who owns a 3D printer can manufacture fully functioning weapons at home that are untraceable and undetectable.
They’re untraceable because 3D printed firearms have no serial number. And undetectable because, being made of plastic, they pass easily through security checkpoints.
To counteract the spread of weapon source files, DAGOMA, the leader of 3D printing in Europe, supported by advertising agency TBWA\Paris, is mobilising with its launch of operation HarmlessGuns. The idea is simple: real firearm source files were downloaded then changed so that none of the pieces would fit together, rendering the printed weapon completely harmless.
To ensure that these files are considered genuine by users wishing to obtain a weapon, all of the changes made are imperceptible to the naked eye: weight, appearance, name, composition.
These files were then distributed wherever the originals were found: forums, websites, 3D model platforms. Hundreds of modified files were posted online to make it extremely difficult to access real files, thus discouraging users who want to make their own pistol or semi-automatic weapon.
To date, the files have been downloaded more than 13,000 times.
The same number of weapons which, once printed, will be completely harmless.
And to extend its commitment, Dagoma is developing 3D weapon file detector software to prevent firearms from being manufactured on their printers.