Skip to comments.FYI: Is It Legal To 3-D Print A Handgun?
Posted on 10/05/2012 11:39:04 AM PDT by marktwain
Earlier this week, the Wiki Weapons Project--an initiative to create a 3-D printed handgun and distribute the digital design file for free online--ran into a stumbling block when 3-D printer provider Stratasys pulled the lease on a printer it had provided the group. Stratasys cited a clause in the lease agreement that allows the company to rescind a lease for printers believed to be used for unlawful purposes. That raises the obvious (and thorny) question: Is the Wiki Weapons Project doing anything illegal?
We at PopSci are experts on many things, but federal firearms regulations and intellectual property law are not among them. As we understand it, one is required to obtain a federal firearms manufacturing license to produce firearms in this country--if those firearms are for sale. The Wiki Weapons Project has demonstrated no intention to sell any potential firearm it creates, but rather to create a freely distributed digital file that would allow anyone with the right hardware and know-how to print their own firearm.
And the law doesn't have much to say about that, not explicitly, anyway. Regardless of your personal feelings toward the Wiki Weapons Project, it is at the very least forcing us to take a look at what happens in a world where information (which wants to be free) can be easily converted into physical objects--many of which (like firearms) are not supposed to flow freely.
This raises lots of interesting questions, says Michael Weinberg, a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, a legal consortium focused on digital technology, the internet and intellectual property. There are going to be a lot of stories in the future about people doing interesting things and uninteresting things with 3-D printing. The question people need to ask themselves is: was this possible before 3-D printing?
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
3D printing may be ok for grips and other parts not subject to high pressures and or forces. No way would I fire a gun whose barrel, bolt, or receiver is made of printed plastic, or built up micro-welds.
It is fully legal to make a firearm for one’s own personal use, ie, not intended for resale. You do not need to have a Type 07 FFL, as long as it is not intended for resale. If it is for resale, then you need a Type 07, and you’ll need to pay the 10 or 11% excise tax.
It doesn’t even need to have a serial #.
You just need to file a Form 1 with the ATF.
it is simple, what is the law regarding ANY home made weapon?
Yeah, but tools like 3D printerswhich we can expect to get even better and more affordable over timewill place weapons manufacture readily into the hands of laymen.
Anything that helps nullify the enforceability of arms restrictions and dissolves the State’s monopoly on force, I can only regard as a good thing.
In general, manufacture, if it is in compliance with the laws that govern barrel length, overall length, rate of fire (auto/semiauto), etc.
So long as the gear is not made for sale, should be good to go.
should be interesting to see how this works out!
When 3D printed (aka “additive machining”) comes to firearms parts that have to withstand pressure, they’ll work. There is already 3D machining of metal parts - the printing “ink” is powdered metal and binder, and the result is baked in an oven to sinter or fuse the metal together.
There’s already plenty of firearms parts that use something very much like this in MIM parts.
That depends on whether you are also printing page 2 that has the silencer on it... :)
Wiki Weapons Project should just raise the funds to purchase the printer, instead of leasing it. Oppression doesn’t just come from the State, it also comes from statist-oriented companies, and from companies that get their panties in a wad at the thought of looking bad because of what customers do with their products.
I fully support this project; it is in its own was a predecessor to the Weapons Shops of Isher. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weapon_Shops_of_Isher
“The right to own weapons is the right to be free.”
If those micro-welds are small enough then it is going to be indistinguishable from cast metals.... but what'd be more interesting is if these printers get to multi-material/near-nanotech levels: at that point we can start making firearms with multi-layered chambers (stronger), barrel-integrated silencers (like the De Lisle carbine), and perhaps glassy-carbon chamber/rifling coating (which should make cleaning uber-simple, the carbon residue from firing won't stick to such parts, IIUC).
Federally legal, so long as made for personal use and NOT for resale.
Your state & local laws may vary.
Sounds like Stratasys made a bad move.
While I don’t agree, I understand their concerns. This will soon become a hot sociopolitical issue they want no association with.
“it is in its own was a predecessor ....”
“it is in its own WAY a predecessor ...”
You can build your own firearm without a license so long as it’s for personal use and isn’t an NFA weapon*. You can’t sell it. NFA weapons are more tricky but some are still doable with paperwork. I don’t think you can build a full auto anymore.
Gets into an interesting area. With technology, computer operated machine tools are more available.
(*I am not a lawyer, just some guy on the internet. Before you go build yourself a gun, a ma deuce, howitzer, or tank go see one who specializes in firearms and make sure what you’re doing is legal where you live.)
Nope. They are good to go...
Fused/sintered nickle powder assemblies are often strengthened by infusing them with brass/bronze during the post-print anneal process.
The parts won’t be as strong as a forged steel part, but with appropriate design considerations they can be strong enough!
After all, CANON used to be made from cast bronze!
Wow! You’ve actually read that?
You must be OOOOOOLD!
Hmmm.. just out of curiosity: how much pressure is involved in the 40mm grenade launcher? And in the grenade parts?
I'm neither a metallurgist or materials engineer so, I can't disprove that statement. If you are correct, that's pretty cool but I'll wait to see someone run 50K rounds through a printed gun under a variety of conditions before I'd feel confident firing one.
but what'd be more interesting is if these printers get to multi-material/near-nanotech levels: at that point we can start making firearms with multi-layered chambers (stronger), barrel-integrated silencers (like the De Lisle carbine), and perhaps glassy-carbon
Many possibilities. Will be interesting to see which direction the technology goes.
Dunno but my guess is the tube is designed to withstand shotgun type pressures.
And in the grenade parts?
Obviously, failure under pressure is the objective but what that pressure is I also dunno.
I’ll take a 3d template for a .357 HK P9! (and for a .357 cartridge)
Works just fine. Not quite up to printing a barrel yet... But getting there.
Depends on if you're talking about the M-203A or the Mk-19.
I would say it's a start. I'm sure metallurgists and material scientists are working on improvements.
After all, CANON used to be made from cast bronze!
And shotgun barrels used to be made of twist steel. I wouldn't advise running modern powder through either.
As always, I believe the technology will go toward wherever people's interests and willingness to pay lie, barring any physical impossibilities. I don't see any impossibilities down the path to what's been stated thus far on this thread. It seems analogous to a desire for 12 megapixel camera resolution (a resolution that would allow photographers confidently to abandon most legacy film designs) that started out twenty years ago as 640x480. We're now at something analogous to the 640x480 camera resolution in the 3d printer realm, IMHO.
Stopped reading right there.
Does anyone know what kind of material ( gook ) is used in these 3D machines?
Is it possible to use a transparent acrylic ( or some other transparent fluid/plastic ) for making aquariums for example?
Very interesting. Thanks!
bump for later
Some of the people here are missing the point.
It is not necessary to print the ENTIRE gun on a 3-D plastic printer. You only have to print the controlled part — the receiver. In some cases (such as the AR-15) you can buy the upper without government oversight. In addition, in some cases (such as the AR-15), the lower has to withstand very little force. The bolt (steel) locks directly into the barrel (also steel) while firing. The lower only has to hold everything together during recoil. Some force, but not nearly as much as the barrel and bolt see.
I would imagine that a LOT of other designs could be created that would have very little stress on the controlled part (the lower). This looks VERY interesting.
My CCW instruction LLC is Isher Enterprises.
True, from a current legal standpoint. Print an AR15 lower receiver, which does little more than hold the remaining major components together, and most of it legally amounts to mail-ordering accessories.
Nonetheless, being able to insert bulk raw material & push one button and have the entire functional product appear is a major paradigm shift.
Ya know, DARPA does have a real interest in this. Imagine a supply chain that instead of moving finished goods to the front lines could just move raw materials and manufacture whatever they needed within minutes and yards of use.
What, you don’t want the barrel and brass blowing up in your face like a trick cigar? Killjoy.
I don’t see why it would be illegal, unless you aren’t legally allowed to possess a gun.
“Nonetheless, being able to insert bulk raw material & push one button and have the entire functional product appear is a major paradigm shift.”
It’s really not that big of a shift from what is currently possible with a CNC Mill. You’d have to change tool heads manually and flip the billet over manually with a “hobbyist” level mill, but it’s essentially just “push a button” and the mill does all the work.
Remember how slow printers were in the old days? You had to wait forever to get a page out of them. Now, plenty of home laserjets can crank out 30 pages a minute, no problem.
I suppose we’ll see similar speed improvements with these 3D printers, not to mention many, many other improvements in them, including in the kinds and strengths of materials and substances they can “print” out.
Then the question won’t be whether or not it is legal to print a handgun, but whether or not it is legal own a little flake of silicon that has particular strings of 1s and 0s on it. Because who would want his closet all cluttered up with curios and relics when, with the push of a button, he could start cranking out thirty M249 SAWs every minute, and thus start rocking and rolling with the forces of tyranny on a moment’s notice? That’s what we’re really talking about. And I say “yes,” because they won’t be able to stop those who are determined to retain and restore their freedoms, no matter what silly laws they pass in the interim.
Thing is, I seem to remember some granades being mostly made of plastic, filled with shrapnel and explosive, so that a hi-pressure body burst is not necessary. Just a speedy drive load.
These things might be very good for printing.
If so, I have a neat design here which will give the fighter the ability to project the thing 100 yards plus, with no actual barrel and material cost of 50 cents or so, fitting in your shirt pocket :).
What material would you like?
Clear, opaque, ridged, rubbery, biocompatible, high temperature.
Aluminum filled nylon, plastics, sterling silver, Stainless steel, Gypsum (Plaster of Paris), Ceramics (Food grade, no less!), glass.
Choose from a large range of metal alloys, including aluminum and titanium.
You can even make stuff out of corn starch or sugar...
Also known as a “sling”? (Izzatyou David?)
“Wow! Youve actually read that?
You must be OOOOOOLD!”
I know you’re being sarcastic, but FU anyway. :>)
FYI, I didn’t buy it fresh off the press, but got it from a used book store (oh, I know, going to a bookstore = OLDDDD!). Chronologically 51, emotionally about 17 (just ask my wife).
I like it. Most won't understand the reference, but I'm sure it is always rewarding when someone does.
I know youre being sarcastic, but FU anyway. :>)
First offer of sex in way too long. *sigh* And we're both straight guys, story of my life...
*grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble* *grumble*
Yep. You basically just have to tailor the pin assemply right ;).
You probably have seen how precise you can make a potato shot with a stick, string and a nail.
FYI, saw this on FR a week+ ago - 17gigapixel camera shot. Use the mouse and zoom in function - pretty amazing.
Heh. There are two hikers on Half Dome. One with a white shirt, one with a yellow shirt.
Alan E. Van Vogt was a Canadian born writer. The book was written shortly after the first Canadian attempt to force long gun owners into a firearms registry. The Canadians revolted (peaceably, as Canadians do) and the first long gun registry attempt was destroyed.
The Canadians are now working on finishing off the second attempt. Yes, I got a lot of questions about the name, and kept a copy of the book available to answer them. A few people understood the literary reference.
Registry didnt work before, doesnt work now(Canada)
The first comment has the Isher reference.
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