The company Create It Real has created software that enables a printer to disallow printing guns.

According to their press release they say:

3D printing has recently hit the news as a young American was able to create a working firearm by using a 3D printer to build the lower receiver, the only part of a gun which cannot easily be purchased. Only a few months later, 3D models of an entirely printable gun appeared on the Internet. As proven by the Australian police, those homemade firearms are highly dangerous and, in many countries, illegal. Now new software developed by a 3D printer company will prevent 3D printing of guns.

There have been debates in the media on how to stop people from printing guns on their 3D printers. Banning the technology would mean a huge regression towards what The Economist called the “third industrial revolution”. Banning the files which contain the 3D information of a gun does not seem to be possible in the times of digital file sharing.

The Danish company Create it REAL, however, has found a solution to this issue. Upon opening a 3D file, the smart software scans the model and tries to match its characteristics with the characteristics of a firearm. If certain features align, the software will not allow the user to view and print the model.

For safety reasons, there are no models of firearms stored on the user’s computer but rather a list of its characteristics.

Create it REAL’s CEO Jérémie Pierre Gay assured that “printing other, non-firearm models is of course still possible.”

Well, this raises a bunch of issues.

Firstly it assume that one’s printer has this software installed. This would imply that it would only work on commercial printers as current RepRap style printers all use open source software.

Interestingly enough Create It Real’s business plan seems to enable other companies to bring 3D printers to market. I can’t blame them for giving a reason for companies to buy their printers.

Secondly it assumes that the software actually works. I imagine it would be difficult to determine if a small part is part of a larger firearm. I can imagine work arounds and patches being available as zero day fixes to the problem.

Thirdly it assumes that there are no false positives – does the software err on the side of a part being a firearm or not being a firearm? After all, we cant build a filter to stop spam email how are we going to filter random parts for being part of a firearm?

Little Johnny bought an ACME printer and the first thing he did was print a firearm!

I can just hear a worried mother saying. I guess this software aims to stop this.

Of course Little Johnny could make a gun that fires a single shotgun shell easily from parts available in almost any shed. Or he could learn how to use a lathe and start making a gun.

My humble opinion

This software sounds good on the surface but I don’t believe that it is 100% accurate and that cracks/patchs will not be available from the day the printer is released.

Secondly I don’t feel that printing a firearm is a problem for 3D printer manufacturers. After all simple guns can be made out of household parts. More complex guns can be made in any well equipped shed.

I think the more practical way to hand the ‘3D printed Guns’ issue is to have laws like in Australia:

  1. It’s illegal to manufacture a firearm without a license
  2. It’s illegal to own a firearm without license.

The penalties are pretty severe if convicted.

Final Word

I have sent this article to Create It Real for them to reply in comments or the like

Also anytime I blog on guns – even the slightest wiff of gun control brings out all sorts of folks preaching the US constitution. Guys – this is an Australian Blog talking about 3D printing in Australia with Australian Laws.







By On 25 June, 2013 · 7 Comments · In Military, Software

7 Responses to Company creates software that they say stops the 3D printing of Guns

  1. Hi Andy,

    I am the CEO of Create it REAL and more than happy to post an answer.

    You have some very valid points. First on the technical aspect, the software works a bit like an antivirus, a central server keeps a database of the firearm models that must not be printed.

    It can detect very quickly if the object to be printed as key characteristics of a firearm, if it does, a deeper inspection of the object is made to avoid any false positives. This allow keeping very good performance and very low risk of false-positive.

    You are totally right that hackers could eventually crack the security but the average user will not — and it will prevent curious and unmindful people from printing a dangerous tool. Like that, the software also functions as child/youth protection.

    We received feedback that 3D printing of firearms is big problem for manufacturers. Based on the country where 3D printers are sold, it raises the question of responsibility, ethic and bad publicity. Those questions and worries by the community were the reason for Create it REAL to develop the feature.

    Feel free to contact me with more questions at info (AT) createitreal (DOT) com.

    • Andy says:

      Thanks for your reply Jeremie. It is most appreciated.

    • oiaohm says:

      Really I don’t have a problem as long as it like an Anti-Virus and you can turn it off for some odd cases. Like the person requesting the part has a valid firearm production license or just happens to be firearm parts reused in some other item that is not a firearm that is legal.

      Printing models for other people having software to audit looking for strange things will not a bad thing.

      I do know with some of cases that are going to be hard to sort.

      Yes if you are printing replacement parts for a Gun Shaped Camera is likely to cause the software to detect you making items like gun triggers and other parts. Because some of them the trigger and grip is from a real gun. The missing bits are that instead of hitting firing pin it hit shutter and no gun barrel.

      Yes the first handheld movie camera uses a normal riffle but and trigger. Taking pictures and killing a target have a lot in common. Both are after stablity.

      In fact it part of USA law. Due to the fact the USA goes that its a gun if it has a gun chassie not if it has a barrel or not also causes some problems. Making a plastic AK47 chassie with a cammera not a barrel would be legal in Australia. You did not make a firearm. But USA that would be a firearm because the core is a firearm chassie.

      Not that I am saying making Plastic AK47 parts or other gun parts should not raise alarms. But there is a reality that at times the production is valid and legal. Final usage of the parts is key. Non weapon AK47 parts don’t need the structual strength.

      Replica firearm Laser tag guns if people made printed version would be another area to cause a lot of false postives. Problem is they would not be a 100 percent false.

      Its like all tech there is evil and good usages. Filtering so people running 3d printers get a heads up there is a issue and need to ask questions about who is ordering these parts is a good thing. If the program ever gets forced on us as a required there going to be problems.

      Effect those doing valid and legal things like repairing some of the gun shaped cameras and maintaining laser tag weapon, neither requires firearm licenses.

      Problem is the parts in some cases will not be false positives. They are positive firearms parts just the device they are going into is not a firearm.

  2. peaceful_gun_owner says:

    I think the most intelligent, appropriate, and logical response to this is “LULZZZZZ”.

  3. Jeff says:

    Regardless if your in Australia or not your trying to influence/force your opinion on people of other nations. This is evident when you say:

    “I think the more practical way to hand the ’3D printed Guns’ issue is to have laws like in Australia:”

    That is why you have US citizens defending their 2nd Amendment rights.

    • Andy says:

      Good point Jeff. I don’t think anything on this blog can influence US policy.

      Regarding influencing other countries that is for their governments/people to decide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *