Skip to comments.The End of Gun Control?
Posted on 07/29/2012 9:16:20 AM PDT by marktwain
Given the recent appalling events in Aurora, Colorado, theres been a renewed call for greater gun control and a ban on assault weapons.
Im in favor of tighter gun control and a ban on weapons that are unnecessarily powerful but Im afraid that technology will soon make any legislation that limits the availability of any kinds of guns ineffective.
To understand why this might happen, you need to understand a technology called 3D printing.
3D printing allows you to build things that are, as the name implies, three dimensional. A few years ago 3D printers were very rare, hugely expensive, and hard to use. But as with anything that can be driven by computers, 3D printers has become cheaper and cheaper to the point where, today, you can buy a 3D printer, off the shelf, for as little $500.
Using either free or low cost computer aided drafting software you can create digital 3D models of pretty much anything you can think of and, with hardly any fuss, your 3D printer will render them as physical objects.
The only contraints on what you can print are that the size of the printed object (typically a maximum of 6 inches by 6 inches by 6 inches unless you spend more money on your printer ; the bigger the final object you want, the more youll have to spend), the material printed (all of the low end printers can, at present, only print with thermosetting plastics; very high end printers can print with ceramics and metals), and the resolution of the printer (for current low end printers this is typically around 0.1mm).
So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and thats exactly what somebody with the alias HaveBlue did.
(Excerpt) Read more at forbes.com ...
Three decades ago, I made a four shot, .45 caliber pistol for 12 dollars worth of hardware store parts and 12 hours of labor.
This is a good reminder to technocrats that freedoms reinforce each other.
Guns kill things. What is the threat from unnecessarily powerful guns, killing someone twice? I'm guessing that if the author knew he was about to engage in a gun fight for his life, he would never consider getting a gun that was just adequate.
I doubt very seriously a printed gun barrel could withstand the pressure of a fired round.
Better have some good safety glasses.
Must be using some very heavy bonded printing paper...lol..
I can see this technology being using for fabricating all sorts of things, not just making guns, using CNC machinery.
Must be using some very heavy bonded printing paper...lol..
I can see this technology being used for fabricating all sorts of things, not just making guns, using CNC machinery.
The technology to create guns has almost always been in private hands, but newer technology drastically cheapens the price and makes it more affordable to everyone. If you can print all the metal parts on the same printer, it become much more available to hobbyists, rather than those with a full machine shop.
I see Forbes feel for it.
If the author is a true blue liberal he might very well select a gun that is undersized and inadequate.
The article goes on to say the guy printed an AR reciever - and then used it in a gun he built to fire 200 rounds.
“Firearm manufacture started with 15th century technology. “
Years ago along the Kenya-Uganda border there was a major problem with the deep boreholes (water wells with hand pumps) being broken by the local semi-nomadic pastoralist warriors. The hand pumps used 1/2” galvanized water pipe as pump rod, connecting the pump handle to the piston located a hundred feet or more below.
It turned out the warriors were using the 1/2” pipe to make gun barrels. They spend a lot of time raiding each other, often stealing 20k-30k cattle on one raid.
The solution was to switch to 3/4” water pipe for the connecting rods. So far, no one is man enough to fire a .75 caliber rifle.
Of course, later, when Idi Amin fell, the local tribe broke into the district armory and stole 12,000 AK-47s and 2 million rounds of ammo.
“Yeee ha!, talk about a cattle raid!” More like major firefight or minor war!
( Im in favor of tighter gun control and a ban on weapons that are unnecessarily powerful)
What is unnecessarily powerful?
Who decides that? The Government ?
And do you really care if the bullet that enters your brain pan is a 45 caliber or a 22 cal hollow point?
Do you remember "Mr. Clark" in Tom Clancy's Without Remorse?
First of all, most modern firearms barrels aren’t hardened. They’re not “dead soft,” either, but they’re nowhere near “hard.”
Most barrels I work on a lathe are in the 27 to 32 Rockwell “C” hardness scale. For 4140 steel (which is what they’re made out of), I’d call “hard” starting in the mid-40’s Rockwell “C” and up to the high 50’s from there. Stainless barrels in 416 stainless are in the low 30’s as well.
Second, the day is coming when 3D printing can do this. The precursor technology to this is MIM - metal injection molding. Those parts start out as a metallic powder + resin + binder goo that gets injected into molds about the consistency of cheeze-whiz... and then they’re compressed, heated until the metals sinter or fuse together, removed from the molds, then they can be hardened as normal steels. They have 98% of the density of “real” steel when they’re all done. I’ve polished, ground, and worked on MIM parts in S&W revolvers that, except for their surface finish when I start, I can’t tell the difference in how it feels under my fingers from regular steel.
The powdered metals are the future of production metallurgy. “Additive” machining is also the future - product COGS will go down because instead of starting with a big chunk of metal and carving everything away you don’t need, you will use only as much material as you need to build it up. The push from industry to head in this direction is ferocious. IMO, the CNC machine companies better be looking over their shoulders...
The future 3D printed barrel might not be sintered while it prints, but a printed barrel is coming. Have no doubt about that.
So, your saying that these barrels you work on that result in the hardness ratings aren’t heat treated at all anywhere in the process? I’ve seen where barrels range from R20 up to R60....they got there by doing nothing at all? I know about SLS and what it produces. It is nowhere near that ability. MIM may be another story, but I’d have to see it first.
You can fabricate any metal part you need with them.
You can buy one on eBay.
The 3D printer was used to make the lower reciever on an AR. In the United States, this is the part of the AR that is legally controlled. All the other parts can be bought freely without government permission.
It is also legal for you to make your own lower reciever without government permission. Quite a few are already doing it. This technology simply makes it easier.
You’re right - there’s no “need” for 3D printing. I could turn out guns from truck axles that work quite nicely.
But I couldn’t do it *quickly*. A small shop with a lathe, mill, deep hole drilling expertise, etc... might be able to (if the plan is very simple, like a Rem700) make a rifle start to finish in a man-week per rifle. Even if I broadcast the plans and BOM far and wide, I’d have to assume that, to make firearms the “old school” way, you’d have someone with some machine tools and some skill to make guns from plans I might lay out in detail.
If Uncle Sugar wanted to shut this activity down, they could snatch up guys like me by the 100’s and be done with it. Most people don’t know how to run machine tools and they’re not about to learn how any time soon, much less devote the space in their garage or shop to thousands of pounds of precision iron. There’s only eight gunsmithing schools in the nation (that I know of), and perhaps only three where someone coming out really has the chops to build a rifle/pistol from scratch. These classes are full beyond their capacity, but that’s only about a dozen guys per semester per school that are coming out of each of these programs. In other words, the net total of new gunsmiths per year who have the chops to build a rifle from scratch might be 100, schools and apprenticeships taken together. The real trick is the deep hole drilling of the hole in the barrel. Everything else is pretty easy.
Add in a dozen more machine tool technology programs at community colleges and you can shut down an illicit gun business that can produce serious guns (not zip guns, but guns capable to take a head shot at 300 yards) without appearing any more stupid or draconian than what we see today in the rampantly stupid “war on drugs.”
But a 3D printer? Feh. Any one of these hacker-type twerps can run a 3D printer. There’s hundreds of thousand of hacker-types who can run a 3D printer. There’s 10’s of thousands more every year. DefCon used to be small and “cool,” and now it’s like some huge hacker “Us” festival.
If I’m putting together a 3D printed gun, I can ship the CNC program over the ‘net to... everywhere in an hour. The 3D “ink” will likely be controlled in distribution, but that will win about as well as the controls on prescription narcotics and fertilizers - in other words, the Feds won’t be able to control it worth a damn. Kids will be able to score a barrel of 3D/MIM goo with no great feat. With 3D printing, the cat is out of the bag in a way that even dipstick liberal arts majors scribbling for major east coast newspapers can finally realize... because the technology is so simple, even a dipstick liberal arts major can run it and make a 1911 on their desk, from the same computer that is used to author their idiotic screeds.
At most, they might need a heat treat oven. OK, so that’ll be about another $1300, and they’ll need to wait a few hours. Ovens have programmable controllers now too. The instructions can be as simple as “put in the part, press ‘go’ on the oven controller.” The stooge running the oven won’t need to know jack about heat treatment. Just use an air quenched metal and give them a pair of tongs to pull it out of the oven. Done deal.
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