I’ve written before about how Thingiverse is awesome, and it still is… but there’s this discussion going on which I thought I’d mention…

First of all, if you use Thingiverse, I’m sure you’ve read the Terms of Services page, right? And if you’ve uploaded something, you’ve probably seen these rules:

  • Designs must represent a real, physical object that can be made.
  • Please only upload designs you’ve created or participated closely in creating.
  • You may upload open-source/copyleft designs if you provide attribution.
  • No pornographic or sexually explicit designs.
  • Please don’t upload weapons. The world has plenty of weapons already.

Now those seem reasonable and… WAIT A MINUTE!!! What’s that “Please don’t upload weapons” bit?

And oh how the debate has raged… I think you need a Google account, but you can see some of the discussion on the Thingiverse list. I’m not worried about my highlighting this, because the big guys already mentioned it over on Boing Boing. (Their readership is slightly larger than mine I assume.) Luckily, there are many experts, and each one left a comment!

I’m not going to choose one side or the other, but I just wanted to point out that the magic of Thingiverse isn’t in allowing you to upload and download files, or in the ability to leave comments or type up a description… The magic of Thingiverse is in the community. It’s in the users. From a technology standpoint, I don’t see anything that would prevent another site from doing pretty much the exact same thing.

So here’s my ideas: Weaponiverse

Tip: As of my writing this, is still available! Update: is live!

Don’t take this as my siding with the anti-weapons people. Or as siding with the weapons people. I’m siding with the DIY people. If Thingiverse isn’t doing what you want (allowing you to publish weapons, or being unclear about it) start your own damn site. Or post the files on your own blog, or put them on USB drives and hand them out. Remember, Thingiverse is run by people. (I assume it’s these two people.) At the end of the day, it’s their site. Just like Facebook is controlled by Facebook, Twitter is controlled by Twitter, etc. Thingiverse is their ball, and they can print it out and take it home if they want to…

But don’t let that stop you. If you want to share files (legally) go for it. That’s what the Internet is for, right?

5 replies on “Weaponiverse”

The current Thingiverse terms of service does not mention weapons and has not for some time.

I thought the confusion was that the terms of service does not mention it, but the guidelines do.

My take on it is more of, if people aren’t pleased with the service, they should feel free to host files elsewhere.

And the end of the day, Thingiverse allows users to download files, and any web site can do that. :)

Hi Pete –

Yes, my query to the thingiverse mailing list was in looking for clarification on the rules, as the ToS once did in fact prohibit weapons from what I understand. Apparently Zach and Bre do not care for weapons, but Zach indicated that such uploads are allowed, though discouraged.

I’m very pleased with the service of Thingiverse, which is why I decided to upload my lower receiver (though much sooner than anticipated). I received helpful feedback and suggestions as a result, which is what I had hoped and expected from such a community. This is speaking as a DIY-er who is simply interested in pushing the technology and capability of 3D printing forward by applying it to some of the fields in which I have an interest (one of which happens to be gunsmithing).

Could another site offer the same service? Absolutely – there are several amateur gunsmithing forums that I’m a member of. However, the concept of 3D printing is foreign to the vast majority of those forum users, while the Thingiverse community understands and embraces hobbyist 3D printing, hence that’s where I decided to upload and document my progress. As it turns out, there are a number of other people on Thingiverse who share an interest in the intersection of 3D printing and gunsmithing.

If somebody sets up and attracts a helpful community in the same vein as thingiverse, I’ll happily go there. But for the moment, if I myself can refrain from screaming at the top of my lungs everytime I see yet another mashup of Bre Pettis’ head on top of another miscellaneous object, I hope that others can likewise simply move along when they come across content that they themselves don’t particularly care for.

– Michael aka Have Blue on the makerspace mailing list

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