Question regarding unclear content policy

Hi there,

For the past couple of weeks I have been trying to find manufacturers for an airsoft project prototype that I am working on. I just need 2 more parts produced, since I managed to get everything else sorted out (around 90% of the whole project), but I am having trouble finding manufacturers that have reasonable terms and conditions to produce the last two parts, since every 3D printing manufacturer I have been able to find does not mention airsoft anywhere, and just says “we don’t produce firearms”.

Now of course, airsoft is a cool hobby that doesn’t involve any actual violence, or real guns, and provides joy to lots of players. That’s why I am asking what your policy is regarding producing parts for airsoft replica’s? And I’m not even asking about producing something that resembles a gun, just parts that could easily be mistaken for random items, a large hinge that can slide on a pole which resembles a large tent part for instance.

I already made the mistake of naming my 3D files as actual gun parts for personal reference, and another manufacturer from France (I would name them but their name gets censored here) automatically flagged my order and cancelled it. After contacting them to clarify that their terms and conditions are extremely vague and only state the single sentence “they will not produce firearms” I told them that airsoft replica’s are not firearms, their response was basically “we don’t produce firearms. your order is cancelled. Deal with it.”, which shows they don’t even properly read customer complaints and don’t care that their terms are vague.

Now I have the same question for i.materialise, your terms and conditions state the following:

“i.materialise acts according to its mission, which is to make the world a better and healthier place to live. Therefore, i.materialise reserves the right to refuse at its own discretion and at all times an order that is in conflict with its mission and value statement. Creating firearms, their components, or any other prototype or model intended for the weapon industry, or models for which i.materialise has ethical concerns in general, are rejected to be quoted or produced. i.materialise reserves the right to discontinue the execution process of those orders.”

Now this only mentions actual firearms or anything intended for the weapon industry. It does not mention airsoft parts. Does i.materialise consider airsoft as part of the weapons industry? Does i.materialise have ethical concerns for people who enjoy playing airsoft as a hobby?
Can someone clarify if the two parts I have designed will be accepted or not? If at all possible, please contact me personally so I can provide a more detailed description of my design and show why it is in fact a harmless component which in my opinion should be eligible for manufacture, since on their own the parts do not even resemble an actual weapon.

If not, maybe clarify the content policy a bit further on your website to specifically exclude airsoft items to prevent confusion for future visitors. Another website at least states the following on their terms and conditions and makes it completely clear what is accepted and what isn’t:

“-censored- does produce external accessories for guns and gun games (airsoft, paintball) that do not reproduce core functions. These include scopes, mounts, mono/bi/tripods, grips that do not integrate magazine wells, etc.
-censored- does not produce guns, realistic gun replicas, or gun games (airsoft, paintball). This includes parts that make up guns or could be assembled into guns or realistic gun replicas (including grips with integrated magazine wells).
-censored- does not produce conversion kit parts for guns, gun replicas, or gun games.”

In any case, I’m hoping for a positive answer that allows me to finally finish my project.

Kind regards,

Hi Danny,

You know already what is mentioned in our terms and conditions, so, I don’t have to repeat it. We will not adapt our terms and conditions, because it’s really impossible to put everything in it, but I can put your mind at ease and let you know that i.materialise has no problems to produce airsoft parts as long as you mention in the remarks of your order that these are airsoft parts.

You can find a link to the field “Add remarks” just below the payment method, when you are ordering.

I can assure you that we will read the remarks and in case that we have any doubts, we will ask you a written proof that you’re developing airsoft weapons. This might be a link to your website or even a Facebook link.

I hope this answered your question and we’re looking forward to help you complete your project.

Kind regards Lizy

Hi Lizy,

Thank you for the positive answer! As far as I have been able to find, this means i.materialise is the only 3D printing service that allows the manufacture of airsoft replica’s, which to me is a good thing! I will definitely make use of i.materialise’s services for future projects as well!

Thought I might give an update. The first few parts were accepted without issue and printed beautifully, but my last order has been repeatedly canceled, even though I mentioned they are Airsoft parts and provided a link that shows what I am using the parts for.

The reason I was given is that the steel production is very strict regarding this content, and that these parts can never be accepted. But my previous parts were also produced in exactly the same steel material, and their design could be considered more “hazardous” than the two tiny parts that I’m trying to order now.

Hi Danny,
I saw your models.
The first order did not mention that the parts are for airsoft guns.
The second one did and should have been processed but was cancelled too.
I am checking the reason and will come back to you.

Hi Danny,

The production unit refused indeed the parts.
The production in steel with gun-similar parts stays very sensitive.
Steel is not done in house .
The rules seems to have become more severe.
I am trying to understand what triggered the refusal and under which conditions it is still allowed to print.


Hi Wim,

Thanks for looking into this for me!

Strange how the policy can change in such a short amount of time, the previous parts that were produced in steel without issue are the bolt and chamber, and they looked much more menacing and also would make more sense to be made out of metal if they were intended for use in an actual firearm. The trigger that I’m ordering now could also be made in plastic if I would change the shape a bit, but this would defeat the purpose, as the shape needs to be the same as the real version, and the feel of the trigger just wouldn’t be right if it were plastic.

None of the already produced or ordered parts can be used in an actual firearm, but I cannot really blame the production company for not recognizing this. It’s just a shame they do not look at the provided proof that what I’m building is not actually a real weapon.

In the end I just hope I’m able to finish this project. I only need these last 2 parts and it’s finished. If the project fails because I cannot get these last 2 tiny parts, it would be an understatement to say I would be slightly annoyed. The project has cost me a lot of money (CNC milling an aluminium gearbox isn’t cheap), and it would be all wasted if I cannot get the final few parts.

Anyway, I just hope you can be of assistance in this matter.