Nov.4, 2013

There is growing concern that 3D printers will not only be able to manufacture toys, prosthetic hands, but also plastic guns, or even metal ones. Ever since Defense Distributed printed up a functioning weapon, legislators have been using different way to shut this down. End of last year, Thingiverse, Makerbot's site has taken down a number of blueprints for gun parts. A Danish 3D-printing firm 'Create It REAL' also came up with a firearm component detection algorithm that will give 3D printers the option to block any gun parts.

Matthew Plummer-Fernandez (31), a digital process artist that experiments with code, emerging 3D technologies, was not happy when he observed files are filtered on Thingiverse, and when the 3D-printing firm i.Materialise refused to print an object he'd designed, an artistic variation on Mickey Mouse.

"I was confronting all these taboos showing up in 3D-printing around copyrighted material and 3D-printed weapons, and I think these services are leaving their users out to dry," says Plummer-Fernandez. "I wanted to think of a way to circumvent these problems."

End of last month, Plummer-Fernandez released 'Disarming Corruptor' (DC), a tool for making reversible damage to your STL mesh file. DC runs an algorithm that is used to both corrupt STL files into a visually-illegible state by glitching and rotating the 3D mesh, and to allow a recipient to reverse the effect to restore it back to its original form. The file recipient would need both the application and the unique seven digit settings used by the sender, entering the incorrect settings would only damage the file further.

This means when a user upload files to Thingiverse, he/she can alter the files with this tool to something totally unrecognisable and share it online. Only recipients with the key code can reverse the damage and retrieve the original object.

"When patent trolls and law enforcement agencies find these files on sharing sites they will only see abstract contortions, but within the trusting community these files will still represent the objects they are looking for, purposely in need of repair." writes Plummer-Fernandez.

"It's still quite entry level encryption. But if there is going to be an arms race between hacktivists sharing files and people trying to control them, it's important to make that first move," said Plummer-Fernandez to Forbes. "I wanted to show that if these things are going to be monitored, we as a community have the technology to circumvent that."

DC is free and was was made with Processing and the HE_Mesh Library. It is available for Mac OSX, and Plummer-Fernandez is currently working on exports for Linux (32, 64) and Windows (32, 64).

Watch below video instructions for using the Disarming Corruptor software application.

Posted in 3D Software



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Jon wrote at 11/5/2013 3:13:55 PM:

I do see a benefit of encryption but it's doomed to fail as computers get better at breaking them... best to spend your time and resources designing awesome projects that stand-out. Jon @

CornGolem wrote at 11/5/2013 1:23:54 AM:

Excellent initiative

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