With a $1,000 minimum goal to reach before March 18, 3Dlt will use the proceeds of its fundraising campaign to launch an innovation contest this spring. Designers will submit their ideas, which will be vetted by a team of firearms experts and later voted on by the general public. In June, the winning teams will receive a certain percentage of the total money raised, and their designs will be sold on 3Dlt.com, which is still in beta.
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When it comes to guns, 3-D printing is usually seen as a harbinger of evil, not good. Last year, a plan to build open-source blueprints for a working 3-D printed firearm drew fierce criticism in a country plagued by shooting deaths.
But at least one group is banking on 3-D printing being an answer to, rather than a source of, America's gun-safety problems. Following President Obama's announcement yesterday asking for more private investment into gun safety technology, 3Dlt, a "3-D template marketplace," has launched a crowd-funded innovation challenge to develop 3-D printed products that improve gun safety.
The Cincinnati-based startup 3Dlt is a platform for buying and selling 3-D printer templates, but it also envisions itself as a social innovator that can help improve the world, one 3-D printed object at a time. Using the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, the startup launched its first big campaign yesterday: "Innovation Challenge: Improving Firearm Safety."
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