At it’s core, it is an easily searchable archive of designs for objects that can be created on a 3D printer. Where it differs from competitor Thingiverse is the that Defcad is willing to host more controversial designs. Specifically, the files needed to print gun parts.
While MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis hosted one of the opening keynotes at #SXSW, Cody Wilson was also at the conference spreading his own brand of libertarianism. “People are going to be able to pass this contraband between one another to the point that ‘contraband’ won’t be a meaningful way of describing it anymore,” he was quoted as saying. For a society still grasping at the legal ramifications of simply copying songs, this is a conceptual leap.
It also demonstrates the fine line between free speech and dangerous ideas, a line that Cody Wilson might just crossed. It’s not for us at to decide, but it’s the type of topic that will factor into debates about what a free and uncensored internet means in the future.
For those interested in how long experts estimate the 3D printing revolution will take, take a look at this infographic.