Mar.11, 2013

The 27th edition of South by Southwest kicked off Friday was a huge event full of talks, workshops, films and lots of exciting stuff. Last Friday Makerbot presented a prototype of the "MakerBot Digitizer", a Makerbot 3D scanner for the first time. Meanwhile they also announced the partnership with AutoCAD that users could use Autocads "123D" apps to make items such as monsters, then printing them out on a Makerbot 3D printer.

While "creativity is now accessible in the world of things" and 3D printing is called "the Next Industrial Revolution", Cody Wilson of the Wiki Weapon project announces in a talk at SXSW that his team is planning to launch DEFCAD Search, a new search engine for 3D printable models. This new, for-profit spinoff will be hosted at Defcad.com. "It will be the world's first unblockable, open source search engine for all 3D printable parts", says Wilson.

Wilson says to Forbes that the search engine startup plans to index all types of 3D-printable files–not just the firearm parts.

"Basically the idea is object-based search, but I think we can claim a real commitment to openness…When we say you should have access to these files, people believe we mean that," says Wilson, adding that the site's no-censorship policy would also extend to objects that companies might claim threaten their intellectual property rights. "No takedowns. No removals. We'd fight everything to the full extent of the law."

Defense Distributed's willingness to take on an issue as politically and legally fraught as 3D-printable guns gives it an advantage over competitors, Wilson argues. "There will never be a 'Google Guns,'" he adds. "Defcad is entering a space where few [companies] are socially willing to go."

But Wilson hopes this new search engine could generate some profit for his organization too. Same as Google, some relevant advertisements will be displayed along with the search results. According to Wilson, Defcad.org has 3,000 unique visitors every hour, and there are 300,000+ files have been downloaded from DEFCAD so far.

Wilson says Defense Distributed receives around $2,000 a month in donations which is enough to cover their operational costs for at least another four or five months. But he believes his company could benefit from the new search engine business and grow even faster. Meanwhile he is also seeking early investors for the company.

"A guy's got to eat," says Wilson. "I want Defcad.com to be its own organization and a really serious player in search going forward. I think we can do it in a for-profit way and an authentic way."

 

 

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Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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