Readers may recall the controversy earlier this year
when DEFCAD produced and electronically distributed digital 3D models for the first working, 3D printable weapons. While the event was a milestone, it didn’t last long as the US Department of Defense Trade Controls seized the digital assets as they determined the digital weapons were not appropriate for export to the enemy.
Skip forward several months and we now find the very same weapons being displayed at an exhibit at London’s venerable Victoria and Albert Museum, according to a report from The Guardian.
The V&A felt, as we do, that the creation of digital weapons was indeed a milestone worthy of exhibition. However, it seems that they had many challenges obtaining the prints.
The V&A did not obtain the digital model, at least not yet. But they have physical representations of the weapons:
The museum has acquired two prototypes of the Liberator gun, one disassembled weapon and a number of archive items to add to its collection of 3D-printed objects.
Wilson [Cody Wilson, leader of DEFCAD] was still waiting to secure an American export licence in order to send one of his original guns to Britain, despite the fact that in theory it could be illegally sent all over the world in a digital format.
Yes, the weapons could theoretically be dangerous, but as we’ve said before they are not practical weapons. We believe it’s important for visitors to see them and consider the implications.
Meanwhile, if given a choice of weapons in the museum, there’s likely far more dangerous swords and battle-axes.