A 3D digital pirate has already emerged in the world of digital printing. The site, Defcad, was founded as “the world’s first unblockable, open search engine for all 3D printable parts” by the group that attracted controversy last year by creating 3D digital gun parts. Defcad hopes to provide open access to 3D designs for everything from gun parts to pharmaceuticals. By offering files regardless of ownership, Defcad opens itself up to claims that it is a 3D digital pirate.
Defcad’s founder, University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, said in a video on the site (available below) that, “Defcad stands against artificial scarcity, intellectual property, copyright, patentable objects, and regulation in all of its forms. If 3D printing is going to be developed as a technology, we need specific tools to help get around industry, government, and the collusive members of the maker community.” By Wednesday afternoon, Defcad had raised $13,000 from 46 backers to further its mission.
At present, Defcad offers a single zip file on its site with access to more than 50 files, mostly gun parts. Wilson claims that the file has been downloaded more than 400,000 times. 3D printer manufacturer Stratasys has opposed the plan, breaking its lease for a printer with Defcad. After the Sandy Hook shooting manufacturer MakerBot pulled gun related blue prints from its site.
Defcad is not the only site offering open access to 3D printer files. Last year, Pirate Bay began offering a new category of downloads called “physibles,” or data files that deliver 3D printer files. Time will tell if the files offered by Defcad and Pirate Bay will remain up and operational as copyright challenges emerge to alleged 3D digital pirates.