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Instructables supporting illegal activities - opinions please... Answered

I have a few questions to the officials here in regards to supplying information to be used for illegal activities.

Topics like these:
and possible others contain information on the making of explosives.
With anything from byuning over posessing to making explosives considered to be illegal and punishable by law in most modern countires I was wondering how the official point of view is on these topics?
Freedom of information and so on is all good and fun but I think at some point there should be a limit.
With the potential to harm or even kill people following instructions in relation to explosives I simply think topic for the help on making explosives should not be tolerated here.
This only my personal opionion of course and maybe it wrong but I think supporting illegal and unlawful activities is not really necessary for a cummunity forum...



3 years ago

All I'm going to say-


As I said it is not about knowledge.

And it is a totally different thing to make a knife compared to making powerful explosives.

You can legally own steel, same for knifes and depending on the country even sharp swords, but explosives?

The comparison of reading about making firework to enter carrer in this field and highly dangerous explosives is just nonsense.

There are reasons why most of the chemincals, even the ones for earlier stages, are now banned - people kill themself with it and often other too.

A while back you could still get M80's and other "firework" of similar kind - why not anymore?

Because someone realised there is more harm than good in them.

Sure there some countries left that have no real laws against explosive materials, but I think we can agree that the vast majority of users here are not from such countries.

I understand why people think everything should be freely available but I also think protecting lifes is important too.

As I said: If the ordering, making and possession of something is punishable by 10 years behind bars there should be no use for someone with a sane mind.

And if those people are interested in a career involving those things they will have more than enough legal options to enter this job.

I still have a copy of the original files for 3D printing a working hand gun, which have been banned everywhere (on legal websites anyway).

Does that mean I should post it here so everyone with enough skills can print hand gun that can't be detected at an airport?

Should I supply the user with the necessary information on to make sarin, CX or mustard gas?

I don't think so....

Well, let's hope noone harm himself and makes into the press with it, I wonder how the reactions would be after seeing on TV that a homemade explosive killed a family, while at then end the reported says "The information on how to make are on Instructables" - surely good advertising for new users ;)

Just name one good reason why someone should risk 10 years in jail ?

Is it fun? The need to gain more knowledge? Just because you can?

If you have kids you will know they often do something before they think about it....

Just name one good reason why someone should risk 10 years in jail ?

Freedom? Justice?

How about education? There are countries where, for half the population, just going to school is a crime so serious they risk death.

Here's one of the results of the kind of restrictions you espouse;

If I burn a teaspoon of sulphur in front of a class, I risk poisoning them with the fumes, but it is perfectly legal.

If I sprinkle a teaspoon of powdered zinc into a bunsen flame, I risk serious fire from the conflagration, but it is perfectly legal.

However, if I mix a quarter teaspoon of each, pour it into a ball point pen case, and light it outdoors, remotely, behind a safety screen, and launch the pen into the air, then I have broken at least two laws introduced in the wake of 9-11, and risk anywhere between 7 years and life behind bars, depending on the skills and political motivation of the prosecuting lawyer.

Just typing that previous paragraph is illegal in the UK, as I am disseminating information "of potential use to terrorists".

Yet, that same paragraph is actually a recommended educational demonstration from the Royal Society of Chemistry, rendered illegal by people panicking about "what if somebody hurts somebody with it"?


There are far more people killed and hurt with knives than with home chemistry. Do a google news search for killed home chemicals and compare it to the results for killed home knife.


You have a copy of the gun files? That's nice. Perhaps you'd send me a copy - imagine the gruesome injuries you would prevent by doing that, as I worked and experimented on my own design. Oh, and the files are not illegal, and neither is the gun (subject, of course, to possession of a licence).


You are panicking needlessly, feeding the fears that are rendering both our countries into nanny states, where anything with any risk is a thing to be feared and banned, not understood and conquered.

Obviously, I am not going to convince you from your position, but I encourage you to take a big step back and actually look at what you are demanding, and compare them to the risks you claim exist.

As I said, I'm glad we can agree to disagree ;)

OMG, how did I miss that?

I do a similar thing (without the drink) as a regular demonstration in school, but the stability of the bubbles has always been an issue - using liquid soap, hydrogen/oxygen bubbles burst almost as fast as they form. I never thought of using egg-whites!

Legality is an immensely variable thing - it depends on where you are, your age, the Maker's intended use of the project, the nature of the building in which you follow the project, the date on which it was written, even the time of day you use it.

What about the many knife projects? They are illegal in many instances. Or the various alcohol-related projects? There are nations where following one of those could get you flogged or even executed.

In the UK, it is an offence to make loud noises, including sounding car horns, in urban areas after 11pm, so we ban all the noisy projects and the projects that use power tools.

Almost any project here has the potential for great harm, if you look hard enough. Origami flower? You might get a paper cut, then septicaemia and die.

None of the projects on this site are solely available on this site, the information is available somewhere, be it in a school text book or library archive - I have a document from the Royal Society for Chemistry, detailing a chemistry demonstration that was very popular, right up until it was made illegal a few years ago. Shall I rip that page from the book? Shall I destroy the book?

No matter what the project is, no matter where or how it is documented, the responsibility for it's use or execution, and the legality thereof, is entirely down to the end user. That's not just in the site's terms of service, it's an accepted concept of international law.

All this is, of course, purely my opinion, but you may have realised that I am absolutely against any attempt to control or restrict knowledge and skills. Smother curiosity, and inventiveness dies. That person who never sees the smoke-bomb instructable is never inspired to create an easily-dispersed agent to disperse locust swarms. The person who never reads about fireworks never goes on to a great career in display pyrotechnics.

I find the concept of the censorship of knowledge and prevention of learning to be absolutely abhorrent; who are you to decide what I may or may not know? Such censorship is the mark of a totalitarian state, and a regression of basic civilisation.




(You don't think that was a bit excessive a response, do you?)

How many times do you think this issue has been discussed? Your excessive response is surely related to the number of times you've had to relay your position. A position I agree with, by the way.

You guessed?

I'm all for informing people of the danger or legal issues involved in a project, and have informed people many, many times over the years through comments on individual instructables or forum topics, but I would never, ever ban them. You might as well go and burn down a library.

You can put an eye out with a k'nex gun. I dunno, get a hold of the Autodesk lawyers.

You are comapring apples with oranges here.

Just some of the more recent happenings:

April 15, 2013: Two bombs explode in the packed streets near the finish
line of the Boston Marathon, killing two people and injuring more than

Jan. 17, 2011: A backpack bomb is placed along a Martin Luther King Day
parade route in Spokane, Wash., meant to kill and injure participants in
a civil rights march, but is found and disabled before it can explode.
White supremacist Kevin Harpham is convicted and sentenced to 32 years
in federal prison.

Dec. 25, 2009: The so-called "underwear bomber," Nigerian Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, is subdued by passengers and crew after trying to blow up
an airliner heading from Paris to Detroit using explosives hidden in
his undergarments. He's sentenced to life in prison.

They all got the informations from the internet and simply followed them.

I am all for science and freedom of speech / information but not so much when it comes to making explosives.

Your explosive foam neither has the potential to act as a bomb nor to cause a similar destruction.

And a toy gun is just that, a toy, anyone can kill someone with a screwdriver but noone would consider them to be illegal for good reason.

I am not talking about toys or simple science experiments, not even smoke bombs or rocket candy - I am only concerned about real and illegal explosives here.

Maybe people missed the point a bit.

But I see it is better to agree that we disagree as the discussion is as pointless as gun laws and why kids should not be trained on automatic weapons or and firearms for that matter...

And exactly how many of these were created from, or inspired by, an instructable? How many of them could, conceivably, be committed by following an instructable?

You are simply feeding the tabloid fears of terrorism, the same ill-informed knee-jerk reaction that resulted in laws restricting guns, toy aircraft chemicals and explosives, being passed in the wake of a crime committed with box-cutters.

As a parent, I can see your point of view but on the other hand, it is up to that individual to do whatever they want with the knowledge, found here or otherwise, for good or for evil. If those idiots meant harm, they would have found one way or another and if they wanted to be in contention for the Darwin Awards, all the better.