3D ships dock at the Pirate Bay

For websites like The Pirate Bay, films, television shows and games may not be going far enough in the realms of file-sharing.

After an announcement last month by the site that it was offering a new category of downloadable torrents, named 'Physibles', it remained to be seen whether users would be enticed to download 3D digital files of cowboy hats, teddy bears or ships to print out as physical objects.

It seems The Pirate Bay's goal for users to 'download sneakers within 20 years' may not be so far-fetched after all. The 'Pirate Bay Pirate Ship' is currently one of the most popular 3D downloadable files in the 'Physibles' section, with optical illusions and a 1970s Chevelle Hot-Rod 3D model also maintaining high popularity in relation to the niche torrent section and its 25 downloads currently available.

This ship belongs to Canadian Charles Randall, who after spotting the 3D model torrent downloaded the digital file and is now the proud owner of a mini-Pirate Bay pirate ship.


According to TorrentFreak, In order to turn the model's blueprint in to a physical toy, Randall used an online 3D printing service to purchase a printed copy for his personal use after downloading the file. Ironically, the printing company requires potential users to own the copyright to a model before printing — and that is exactly what the downloader told them was the case.

Unlike regular downloads on BitTorrent, however, printable 3D objects come with a price tag that is not for the faint hearted. With the cost of 3D printing currently rather expensive, a user may have to invest over $100 to possess a pirate ship for their very own.

"The raw price was about $80 for the material, $6.50 for the shipping, and then I had to pay $15 in Canadian duties." Randall said.

3D printing as a concept is not a new idea, but it is only recently that manufacturers are taking its potential seriously. It has the potential to change the mass production industry, but more than revolutionizing businesses, 3D printing has began to permeate other fields — from toys to medicine. As a design process, 3D printing is formed through creating three-dimensional objects from a digital file. It is also known as 'additive manufacturing', due to an object becoming formed through successive layers of material. Individual layers are no thicker than 0.004 in (0.1 mm).

Software such as Google SketchUp and Wings 3D is available for users to create the 3D digital files necessary for this kind of printing and modelling.

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