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Dagoma Disrupts 3D Gun Printing

#HarmlessGuns, created by TBWA Paris, altered blueprints to render weapons useless.

As 3D printing moves from gimmick to practical innovation status, there's been much excitement about its revolutionary potential. Provided you have a 3D printer, it's now possible to print almost anything at home - from decorations and construction materials to artificial limbs. All you need to do is download the blueprint files for any of the millions of items available online.

Unfortunately, the same technology that lets you print, say, a life-saving medical aid can also be used for more nefarious ends - like deadly firearms.   

Accessible without restrictions and in just a few clicks, 3D printed weapons are both untraceable and undetectable: they have no serial number and, being made from plastic, they pass undetected through security checkpoints.  


In a bid to counteract the spread of weapon source files, DAGOMA, a 3D printer manufacturer, has teamed up with TBWA Paris to launch the #HarmlessGuns initiative. The idea behind the campaign is simple: real firearm source files were downloaded then changed, so that none of the printed pieces would fit together, rendering the final weapon completely harmless. 

To ensure that the doctored files were seen as genuine by users wishing to obtain a weapon, all of the changes made were imperceptible to the naked eye, in terms of weight, appearance, name and composition.

The files were then distributed to forums, websites and 3D model platforms where the originals were found. 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 - and to take the initiative even further, Dagoma is developing 3D weapon file detector software to prevent firearms from being manufactured on their printers.

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