Skip to comments.Disruptions: With a 3-D Printer, Building a Gun With the Push of a Button
Posted on 10/09/2012 7:07:02 AM PDT by marktwain
It has long been possible to make a gun at home. But what happens when it no longer takes knowledge and skill to build one?
It won't be long before a felon, unable to buy a gun legally, can print one at home. Teenagers could make them in their bedroom while their parents think they are "playing on their computer." I'm talking about a fully functional gun, where the schematic is downloaded free from the Internet and built on a 3-D printer, all with the click of a button.
Hit print, walk away, and a few hours later, you have a firearm. There are no background checks. No age limits. No serial numbers etched on the barrel or sales receipts to track the gun.
It might sound like science fiction, but 3-D printers are quickly becoming a consumer product. These printers, which now cost about $1,000, can print objects by spraying thin layers of plastic, metal or ceramics that are built up into shapes. Long used by industrial companies to make prototypes and parts, 3-D printers are becoming faster and less expensive almost weekly. One manufacturer, MakerBot, has set up a retail store in Manhattan. Chinese companies have started making them, and prices are falling to about $500.
Hobbyists have printed fairly rudimentary objects: prosthetics, iPhone cases, cat statues and missing luggage clasps.
(Excerpt) Read more at cnbc.com ...
I bet that they could encode into the printer something that would stop a design from being printed that even closely resembles a gun.
How do they temper the steel in the receiver so the thing doesn’t blow your hand off the first time you try to shoot it?
And the news media’s lust for hysteria continues...
“Virtual reality” was a big hype for a long time, with ignorant newsies and busybodies and polypragmatons concocting goblins from what little they understood of the subject. Unable to keep up with the hype, the technology practically died.
I’m seeing the same thing here. Having no concept of the physics & mechanics involved, reporters and other meddlers impute their fear of “pushbutton demons” on the latest sutable emerging technology, making it front-page panic until some other hobgoblin can occupy the small minds.
I went down to Staples the other day and they didn’t have any steel paper for my 3D printer. Darn.
Our 3D printer saved us a ton of money while working on prototypes,,multiple engineering iterations get expensive. We used plastics though,,not metal. That’s interesting. Basically you convert just about any type of CAD drawing via the printer software. Our stuff usually took hours to print, and the machine ran very hot. Ours was a medium size, cost about 45k at the time.
Mr. Wilson, who runs a Web site called Defense Distributed.
He calls the gun the Wiki Weapon. In a video explaining the project’s goals, he describes the Wiki Weapon as the world’s first “3-D printable personal defense system.”
“What’s great about the Wiki Weapon is it only needs to be lethal once,” Mr. Wilson says in the video, in a monotone voice.
Sure, and then you could just print the barrel separately from the magazine, receiver, trigger, grip, etc. So they’d have to try to stop you from printing anything that looks like even a part of a gun. Even then, it would be mere weeks before some hacker came up with a way around it.
There are laser based systems that can “print” steel and other metals as well. The technology is out there. Now it’s just a matter of cost.
3D printing is going to have a huge impact in terms of decentralizing manufacturing. It can be the next industrial revolution - a personal one. That is, if it doesn’t get shut down by concerns like the ones in this article.
Utter nonsense. Nothing rivals forged steel. I don’t even care for cast parts. A printed barrel would explode from the first shot. Gee, can I print up bullets as well?
And I bet a twelve year old “prodigy” could disable those limitations in less than a month.
Teenagers and felons can kill people with cars, knives, poison and anvils dropped off of buildings. Guns created from 3D printers in nefarious hands are way down on my list of things to worry about.
“After committing a crime with a printed weapon, a person could simply melt down the plastic and reprint it as something as mundane as a statue of Buddha. And guns made of plastic might not be spotted by metal detectors in airports, courthouses or other government facilities. “
Now this part is just hysteria. People won’t print guns out of plastic for the same reasons they don’t make regular guns out of plastic, despite what Hollywood movies may portray.
How? The quintessential American “gun” is the AR15, which is legally defined (thanks to legislators not knowing what they’re doing) as the “lower receiver” part - a component of odd shape not resembling what most would consider a “gun”. Screw on other parts that also don’t look like one, and suddenly you have one.
There is no innate “signature” to such an object which fulfills the sociopolitical demand you indicate. Should a library of culprits be encoded, akin to the list of forbidden guns in the defunct-for-good-reason “assault weapon ban”, ‘tis not hard to make alterations until something passes muster.
This isn’t like photocopiers which detect & refuse to copy highly standardized images such as money. There is no identifying distinctive standard shape beyond a long hollow tube - and long hollow tubes have many legitimate purposes.
A “fully-functional” paper gun? Are they really that stupid?
Steel ha ha. Think PLASTIC. What you COULD do is use the plastic in a lost wax process and cast bronze parts so that if they fail it will be by splitting rather than shattering. Wouldn't want to make a ma deuce out of plastic.
I think the writers are on strike at the NYT.
Right now the efforts are around the AR15 lower receiver, which is not subject to high pressures - and what they’re making barely even works for that use.
Someday the tempering problem will be solved. It’s just a standard manufacturing problem, which will coincidentally be useful for this application.