3D printers have changed the world. Mostly for good. 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 files are those for printing real firearms. They’re 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, undetectable and fire real bullets.
They’re untraceable because 3D printed firearms have no serial number. They’re undetectable because, being made of plastic, they pass easily through security checkpoints.
Dagoma, the leader of 3D printing in Europe, supported by advertising agency TBWA\Paris, has done something hugely important for 3D printing. It has thwarted the printing of 3D guns, with an operation called HarmlessGuns.
The idea is simple. Real firearm source files were downloaded then changed so that none of the pieces would fit together, bullets couldn’t fit through the barrels, triggers wouldn’t work, 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.
The new files were 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 HarmlessGuns files have been downloaded more than 13,000 times.
The same number of weapons, 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.
Client Management: Matthieu Régnier & Gauthier Vignon
Executive Creative Directors: Benjamin Marchal & Faustin Claverie
Copywriter: Swann Richard
Art Director: François Claux
Account Management: Matthéo Pressmar
Editing &Motion Graphic Design: Nicolas Duval
Chief Data Officer: Basile Viault
Production Company: TBWA\Else
Chief Executive Officer: Maxime Boiron
Producer: Cathy Pericone
Production coordinator: Léa Gosselin
Sound Production: TBWA\Else
Head of Music & Sound: Olivier Lefebvre
Music Art Director: Ferdinand Huet
Sound Director: Fabrice Pouvreau
Composer: Nicolas Neidhardt