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OT: Click, print, shoot: Guns made on 3D printers

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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 21, 2012 7:59:40 AM PST

NRA is fapping furiously.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:00:29 AM PST
This is how we'll finally get guns into everyone's hands, think of the safety!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:02:14 AM PST
J. Pardee says:
Then the new menace of the world is everyone getting paper cuts trying to put them together.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:02:17 AM PST
FOGE says:
SAN FRANCISCO - Downloading a gun's design plans to your computer, building it on a three-dimensional printer and firing it minutes later. No background checks, no questions asked.

Sound far-fetched? It's not. And that is disquieting for gun control advocates.

Rep. Steven Israel, D-NY, said the prospect of such guns becoming reality is reason enough for the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act, which makes illegal the building of guns that can't be detected by X-ray or metallic scanners. That law expires at the end of 2013.

At least one group, called Defense Distributed, is claiming to have created downloadable weapon parts that can be built using the increasingly popular new-generation of printer that utilizes plastics and other materials to create 3D objects with moving parts. University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, the 24-year-old "Wiki Weapons" project leader, says the group last month test fired a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle -- one of the weapon types used in the Connecticut elementary school massacre -- which was built with some key parts created on a 3D printer. The gun was fired six times before it broke.

'Last month a group of kids used a 3D printer to actually manufacture key parts of the AR-15 and fire six bullets.'

- Rep. Steven Israel, D-NY

]Though no independent observer was there to verify the test, a short video clip showing the gun firing and breaking was posted to YouTube. Federal firearms regulators said they are aware of the technology's gun-making potential, but do not believe an entire weapon has yet been made.

"What's chilling is that last month a group of kids used a 3D printer to actually manufacture (key parts) of the AR-15 and fire six bullets," Israel said. "When the (act) was last renewed in 2003, a gun made by a 3D printer was like a Star Trek episode, but now we know it's real."

Even with gun control pushed to the top of the national political conversation, Wilson is steadfast about reaching his goal of making a fully downloadable gun. This weekend, he and his partners plan to print four new lower receivers -- the segment of the gun that includes the trigger, magazine and grip. He keeps three of these AR-15 parts -- one black, one white and another green - in his tidy student apartment in Austin, TX.

While saddened by the Connecticut mass killing, Wilson said Thursday that protecting the right to bear arms by giving everyone access to guns is more important in the long term than a single horrible crime.

"Clearly what happened in Connecticut was a tragedy," he told The Associated Press. "Still, by affording the Second Amendment protection, we understand events like these will happen."

He said he discussed with his partners whether they should suspend their effort, and they all decided it was too important to stop.

Wilson acknowledged there still are many technical hurdles to creating a complete gun from a 3D printer and provided no estimate on when his goal might be reached.

Special Agent Helen Dunkel of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which helps enforce gun laws, said the agency is familiar with Wilson's project. She didn't offer an opinion but noted there is nothing illegal about making many types of guns at home. Exceptions would be high-powered weapons like machine guns and those not detectable by airport scanners.

Advances in 3D printing technology are fueling Wilson's goal. The printers were developed for the automobile, aerospace and other industries to create product prototypes from the same hard plastics used in toys like Legos. Hobbyists mainly use the printers to design Christmas ornaments, toys and gadget accessories.

Prices on the machines have fallen as the consumer market grows, leading to a surge in interest from people in the so-called "maker" scene. Low-end 3D printers can now be purchased online from between $1,500-$4,000. The more high-end printers needed to make gun parts are still priced from $10,000 and up.

Stratasys Ltd. Of Eden Prairie, Minn., makes 3D printers. Shane Glenn, director of investor relations, said gun-making was never something envisioned for the machines.

"The gun issue is something that the 3D printing industry will have to address going forward," Glenn said.

Right now, most people interested in 3D printing rent time on one. There are a number of businesses and co-ops in major cities that allow access to the machines for a nominal fee. At San Francisco's TechShop, which features a 3D printer for its members, "assembling firearms is strictly prohibited and our staff is trained on that policy," company spokeswoman Carrie Motamedi said.

Wilson acknowledged his idea has met resistance from those active in 3D printing.

"The early adopters of 3D printing technology seem to be an educated, more liberal group who were against firearms to begin with," he said. Wilson said some are worried the gun project might spur regulations that will hurt or curtail their projects.

Early schematics created by Wilson's group were posted on Thingiverse, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based website that serves as a hub for 3D printing aficionados. After the school shooting, Thingiverse took down Wilson's links.

The site's spokeswoman Jenifer Howard said its focus is "to empower the creative process and make things for good." Howard said Thingiverse's terms of service state that users cannot use the site to share content that contributes to the creation of weapons.

Wilson said the group has already posted the links on its own website.

Paul Saffo, a Silicon Valley technology forecaster who teaches at Stanford University's engineering school, said Defense Distributed's work carries on a long tradition of tech geeks using innovation to make a political point, in this case on gun control and Second Amendment freedoms.

"If you want to get people's attention in Washington, you say something. If you want to do it in Silicon Valley, you make something," Saffo said.

He said the technology exists now for a highly motivated group to make a plastic gun on a 3D printer that could avoid airport scanners. But the equipment is still too expensive for most people.

"Nobody right now needs to worry about the bright teenager making a gun on a printer in their bedroom," he said.

Read more:

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:02:21 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 8:02:42 AM PST
Yes, but what about the hover boards? Won't someone please think of the hover boards?

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:04:28 AM PST
Benpachi says:
This is just ridiculous.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:05:58 AM PST
FOGE says:
Did you read the article? Its actually pretty plausible. These arent typical printers or paper. I can see the cause for concern.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:08:15 AM PST
I guess this increases the probability of more elementary school shootings

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:09:50 AM PST
It's not that different from doing it with old-school machining tools. Just easier and more convenient, I'd guess.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:10:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 8:12:08 AM PST
Benpachi says:
Yes, I did. I never said it wasn't plausible, I said it was ridiculous. What I find ridiculous is that people feel the need to have guns so much that they would try to make them with a freaking printer.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:12:37 AM PST
Uncle Ulty says:
Alright, lets ban all printers now!!!

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:15:06 AM PST
J. Pardee says:
It's interesting to see that a 3D printer could make a working gun like that. If 3D printers became easier to get a hold of and these guns became easier to create I could see this becoming an issue though.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:17:23 AM PST
3D Pr0n.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:17:42 AM PST
That's a long way off. He said that the type needed to possibly make a working firearm is about $10k. You could just buy a few guns with that instead.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:18:15 AM PST
If that hasn't already happened, I'd be surprised.

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:18:18 AM PST
Kr155 says:
so congress is already looking for more excuses to take away our freedom.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:18:43 AM PST
FOGE says:
Haha, thats a good point. I dont see why people cant just buy guns. Sounds like a much more reliable option.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:19:07 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 21, 2012 8:22:12 AM PST
You could print your own wife!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:20:15 AM PST
I already have a wife.
I'd print someone much hotter and less of a prude.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:21:27 AM PST
J. Pardee says:
That's why I said if the printers became easier to get a hold of. These printers are probably more of a newer technology so it makes sense that they are 10K for one that advanced. As technology advances though the prices these printers could easily decrease. Right now it wouldn't really be an issue but if the technology becomes easier to use later on it could become an issue with security purposes since a gun like this wouldn't register as a regular gun would.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:23:10 AM PST
McAwesomeo says:
If you're unable to obtain one legally or need one that'll pass through a metal detector 10k sounds like a pretty good deal.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:24:18 AM PST
Or if there is a 10k upfront cost and every gun that you print is only $10 worth of materials, sell it for $25 and make 20 of them a day, lots of guns that can't be detected by metal detectors on the street in a really short amount of time.

I mean, don't try to take away mah rights, gubmint!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:24:51 AM PST
I'm happy just printing a certain part of my wife... Meh, I'll just buy that from a store too...

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 8:24:58 AM PST
KrisCo says:
Oww, a paper cut.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2012 8:25:13 AM PST
Anthony says:
from the article, they aren't making a working gun. they are making PARTS of the gun with the 3d printer. and it'd be cheaper to buy a gun illegally than it would be to buy the damn printer in the first place.
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Discussion in:  Video Games forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  49
Initial post:  Dec 21, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 31, 2012

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