Skip to comments.3D Printing of Guns at Home Making Gun Grabbers Nervous
Posted on 02/02/2013 8:44:42 AM PST by EXCH54FE
When the New York Times wrote of the improved technology of 3D printing this writer responded with a frivolous blog about it, scoring the concerns of anti-gun people about how the technology will allow everyone who wants one to have a gun without government oversight or knowledge. One of those in the anti-gun camp is Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, who said that 3D printing is going to be a big concern. We dont know how thats going to come about and dont know what technology.
That technology is evolving before his very eyes. The RepRap Project aims to produce free and open source software for 3D printers, including software that allows the printer to produce its own parts. Two years ago RepRap allowed printers to create tiny plastic parts for small motors as well as circuit boards for computers. Today it allows hobbyists to build household items like fully-functional clocks, flashlights, iPad cases, watchbands and receivers for rifles.
And it is this virtual explosion in technology that is making other gun controllers increasingly nervous, including Mark Gibbs, a contributor at Forbes, who wrote,
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.
With the decrease in prices for 3D printers, and the improvement in the software to drive them, the capability to print weapons at home is coming into the reach of the average citizen. Gibbs warned,
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.
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...
3-D printer ping
I’ve got a dozen ideas for inventions that I could knock out quickly with a 3D printer. Note to self, find access to one...
There must ba at least a three day waiting period to purchase a printer.
And we need toner cartridge control !!!!
The local Sheriff should have an annual printer buyback program.
This raises a question in my mind. A polymer gun, when fired, would quickly disassemble itself and would likely seriously injure or kill the person who fired it. My guess is that the barrel and components that make up the firing chamber were forged steel. I worked for a major space oriented company in the eighties and nineties and, toward the end of my tour of duty, we acquired a "printer" that could replicate mechanical parts. Those parts "were not" usable in any mechanical device that we created though. They were simply used to verify proof of design. I can assure you that, should you replicate a gun in one of these new "printers" and attempted to load and fire it, you would require a trip to the hospital or morgue.
6 rounds. so you print 5 weapons to make 30 rounds.
Instead of 30 rd magazine you have 5 AR-15s.
And keep that printer printing.
I’m sure a different plastic of stronger materials can be utilized. This is all new to me!
Use the 3d printer to make your castings around. And then use high strength polymers, or metal.
Just an idea
The good SLA versions are about 3-5 grand, they use a resin instead of abs, That is what the guys that made the ar15 lowers used, not the ABS inkjet type, which are only $500
From what I understand there are printers which can do metals — and if there aren’t, it’s achievable w/ (a) metal powder and (b) a laser.
The MDX-20 is the culmination of over ten years of innovative product development in scanning and milling by Roland engineers. Utilizing innovative Roland Active Piezo Sensor (R.A.P.S.) technology, the MDX-20 is a precision 3D scanner, capable of scanning objects at 4 to 15 mm per second with a resolution of up to 0.002” (0.05mm). Replacing the sensor unit with the spindle turns the MDX-20 into a powerful CNC mill capable of cutting light metals, including aluminum and brass.
Mandatory registration of all 3D printers.
Make possession of an unregistered 3D printer a felony.
Make possession or distribution of 3D-printer files for the manufacture of firearm parts a capital offense.
Turn enforcement of these provisions over to ATF, making them the BATFE3D.
This is so ludicrous an idea that you just know its going to happen.
It’s not the printer, it’s the materials. Laws of physics (mechanical strength of a part that is produced layer by layer), and Chemistry (properties of the material itself). This will continue to improve as more and better materials are developed and adapted for 3D printing. Or as new methods such as selective metal sintering are brought to the price point where they are competitive.
Or when people realize that a 3D printed part could be used to make metal cast parts.
Or when they realize it’s just about as easy to have a home CNC machine the damn part in the first place and forget all this 3D printing hype that makes for good scare tactics.
But right now, the state-of-the-3D-printing-art is a gun that blows up after 6 rounds: http://www.dailytech.com/3D+Printed+Gun+Fails+after+Six+Shots/article29339.htm
The AR-15 design is unique; you can buy all the metal parts without dealing with a federal firearms licensee. The lower receiver is the serial-numbered part, but it is subject only to minor stress due to recoil. Some companies already make polymer versions of that part (with small metal serial-number plates imbedded), and the polymer versions are thicker than the mil-spec aluminum original.
So you can "print" copies of the only part that BATFE cares about in this case. Of course, you can also buy an incomplete (un-serialized) aluminum lower receiver and easily complete the machine work, but for some reason a $400 Harbor Freight milling machine isn't considered as big a game-changer as a 3-D plastic printer. Go figure.
Let me know when you can print yourself up a SAW. :-)
Not BS. At this rate they’ll be able to “print” everything on an AR15 except the barrel, bolt carrier group, and a couple other simple parts within a year. BATFE having arbitrarily designated the lower receiver as “the gun”, and ruled unregistered home manufacture thereof is legal, now they’re suffering the consequences with 3D printers making functional ones with ease (they suck, but do work).
Don’t underestimate what’s happening. This is akin to Gutenberg inventing movable type: world changing disruptive technology.
Isn,t 3D printing protected by 1st amendment?
“I can assure you that, should you replicate .... load and fire it, you would require a trip to the hospital or morgue.”
Sintering metal powder with a laser could produce very strong material with a 3-d printer. It would be a specialized printer, but it is doable.
ENOUGH! Quit posting idiotic articles about printing guns! Printing plastic parts is not printing a gun. And don’t tell me about printing metal parts - that process is beyond home based tinkerers and probably cannot create the critical gun parts either. Powder metallurgy has been around forever and I notice that it is NOT used to make gun parts subject to high pressures. If you want to make a gun, buy a decent milling machine and learn how to use it. Guns are not complicated but even at today’s prices and lack of availability they are much easier to buy than make from scratch. Since there are 300 million in circulation, whatever you want will be available (at some high price) in the US for the foreseeable future - legally or illegally.
“Quit posting idiotic articles...”
Many can make a workable, “real” gun in their home shop — what is at issue is grandma pushing a button and out plops a gun. There are many jurisdiction who’s definition of “gun” includes some pretty flimsy air guns — these can now be printed by “grandma”. In Australia, you can break the law making a practical “gun” with a 3-d printer.
So quit posting posts telling people to quit posting articles ....
Yeah, I’d be a little leery of firing a lot of rounds out of even a sintered part. It’s just asking for trouble. Then again, if you’re looking for something that only needs to fire 5 rounds or so (3 for target group, 1 for actual shot, and one just in case the first misses).......I think that’s what has the wannabe’s panties in a bunch, more than being able to print out a machine gun.
I like seeing the 3-D printer articles because the rate of advancement in both the printers and materials technology is so fast today, compared to the last 20 years.
Also of interest is the social impact of this technology. This article is a prime example.
If the owner of the site doesn't want articles posted, he can (and does) yank them down.
“Mandatory registration of all 3D printers.”
Communist countries have mandatory registration of copiers and printers for the same reason. We must likewise oppose such registration for the same reason: freedom.
And what was the state of the art 2 years ago? This train is moving fast. ;)
You answered my question before I even asked - FReepers are the best! :-)
Prices should start to come down soon if they don’t OUTLAW them altogether, I am going to get one if they get below $2000, the ones I was looking at were about $3500.
“The good SLA versions
I had to chuckle a little on the SLA, Shades of Patty Hearst lol!
And if you think the nervous nellies are having conniptions about 3-D printers in plastic. . . . wait 10-15 years, and nanotech-assembler “printers” should start showing up.
And then Grandma CAN press a button and out comes a gun. . .
This really requires another thread..
I am not enamored with this printing, did SLA files when it was cutting edge, and I know enough about Metallurgy, heat treating, plating, Normalizing etc to make me dangerous, I don't see it.....
But the for-mentioned thread for these below, and check out the other videos while on the page.
If you are handy building things, the RepRap project may be for you. RepRaps are the cheapest, (but lowest print quality) of any 3D printer. They are built from scratch. They have a side goal of trying to be as fully self reproduceable as possible. This means that a RepRap printer is designed to be created from RepRap printed parts. A RepRap printer can build about 75% of the parts for the RepRap printers, only things like the electronics need to be bought. So once you have one RepRap, you can keep building others.
If you don't want to do that, there are several models less than $2000 now.
The author states he is in favor of gun control. That’s where I quit reading.
The Roland stuff is pretty much bottom of the line compared to other tech available today. My company has an MDX-40 that we use a lot, but it is only good for relatively small part in relatively soft materials. Useful as heck, though.
QU-BD has a 3D printer/mill that will do additive fabbing (deposition) and subtractive fabbing (standard milling) under development. Their target is to hit about $2700 for a unit that does both. The milling side is specced to handle stainless steels.
Won't last. 3D printing in metals is available today (though quite expensive), yielding products that are as strong or stronger than those machined "normally" (better control of grain size, and spot-customized heat treatment throughout the part, etc). Quite soon, guns and other devices made by 3D printing will perform better than standard machined.
I love the smell of burning gun printing trolls, they must be the same crowd as the ones who hate Sarah Palin and any Orly Taitz birther threads.
A printed gun WILL work, allowing for the material weakness you just make a beefier component until you can get a superior printing material. A printed gun does not have to be a .357 Python or a Glock, it only has to be a zip gun.
Even after only a period of weeks the AR lower project has advanced farther than predicted and will continue doing so.
The 3D printer has left the station, and you naysayer folks are standing there in the rain, cold, wet, dejected that you are not on it.
I have some "special projects" that would only require one shot.
if a 3d printer prints a pen, will the left freak out about the 1st amendment being used?
“I can assure you that, should you replicate a gun in one of these new “printers” and attempted to load and fire it, you would require a trip to the hospital or morgue. “
You’re being too simplistic and not following the 3D printer technology. Lower receivers and magazines can be seen operating on YouTube. If you don’t want to believe it, get left behind in the dust.
There are millions of freelancers perfecting 3D technology.
I’ve got more machines than that, formal schooling in gunsmithing and engineering, and I’m quite optimistic on 3D printing’s future in gun parts.
People used to pooh-pooh MIM parks. Most all major companies use MIM in the lockwork today.
People used to pooh-pooh composites. I was one who did. The Glock changed my mind. I’ve seen, handled and fired Cav Arms lowers (complete with buttstock) that are durable as a rock. The lower of an AR obviously can be made with composites. There’s at least three companies I know of making polymer lower receivers *today* - right now.
The rate of change in the additive machining technologies out there is astounding. It took us from about 1960 to the 1990’s to achieve easily deployable 5-axis CNC machining. That’s 30+ years.
We’ve gone from mere dreaming to actual usable parts coming out of additive machines (especially in medical devices, where the market can pay for the amortized cost of the “real” machines - none of which are being used in guns yet) in about 15 years, and the technology works and works well. As I keep up on machining stuff, I’m astounded at the rate of change in both CNC machining and additive machining. EIther way anyone wants to look at it, the ability to manufacture what’s required to make a firearm in quantity is coming down - rapidly.
However.. after about 1973? I quit trying to keep up with every technology change in every field. It's impossible. The rate of change outstripped my ability to absorb it.
And I was also very interested in human reproductive biology... It happens to young men.
But I did learn to never say never. I can't keep up with the technology in every case, but do skip over the high points as trends emerge.
My personal opinion (which is worth what you paid for it) is that 3-D manufacturing, whether additive, subractive, or some combination, is going to change the world before I shuffle off this mortal coil.
I completely agree with you.
The additive machining technology is a revolution coming down the road, straight at US manufacturing. It is a way for smart companies to lower costs substantially by reducing wasted material - which, thanks to that idiot Bernanke and his merry devaluation elves in the big banks, is becoming more expensive in worthless US dollars all the time.
The secondary effect of additive machining is that it will increase the number of used CNC machines on the market in about 10 years. Already, you can go buy some various makes of “real” CNC mills for relatively little money, if you’re willing to do some work on them yourself (eg, Fadal’s VMC’s) and you don’t need the latest and greatest technology.
The real nut of the issue is that no one “needs” a EDM machine (or even a broach) to make an AR lower out of a slab of aluminum. Just split the problem in half - section the receiver down the long axis, then put it together with cap screws, alignment pins and high-tech glue. Whammo, you have a AR lower without anything more than a 3-axis machine - and truth be told, you could probably crank them out on a retrofitted Bridgie with 2.5 axis control.