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Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:22 AM

Latest paranoia: 3D printers!

I just saw a story on CNN about the "concern" that people will use the new 3D printing technology to manufacture their own guns, which would be undetectable to metal scanners because they're all made of plastic. Seriously, people? Seriously?

Come on, you really think 3D printers can make a FUNCTIONING gun? These printers are made for prototyping. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't imagine how a plastic printer will be able to manufacture a gun capable of withstanding the forces of an exploding bullet. The story on CNN ended -- ENDED, once the hysteria was promoted -- with people saying "yeah, it's pretty unlikely this technology could produce a functioning firearm." Ooops. More ridiculous hysteria for an uneducated public.

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Arrow 44 replies Author Time Post
Reply Latest paranoia: 3D printers! (Original post)
Atman Dec 2012 OP
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #1
slampoet Dec 2012 #29
X_Digger Dec 2012 #30
slampoet Dec 2012 #43
backscatter712 Dec 2012 #41
X_Digger Dec 2012 #2
Aerows Dec 2012 #17
FSogol Dec 2012 #3
Mangoman Dec 2012 #4
JaneyVee Dec 2012 #5
Mangoman Dec 2012 #8
FSogol Dec 2012 #9
X_Digger Dec 2012 #11
Atman Dec 2012 #10
Occulus Dec 2012 #26
uncle ray Dec 2012 #42
RevStPatrick Dec 2012 #6
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #7
Comrade_McKenzie Dec 2012 #12
FSogol Dec 2012 #13
Atman Dec 2012 #20
-..__... Dec 2012 #22
Atman Dec 2012 #34
Aerows Dec 2012 #14
RomneyLies Dec 2012 #15
Aerows Dec 2012 #16
X_Digger Dec 2012 #18
LeftinOH Dec 2012 #19
snooper2 Dec 2012 #23
Atman Dec 2012 #35
Marrah_G Dec 2012 #44
Rain Mcloud Dec 2012 #21
tinrobot Dec 2012 #24
X_Digger Dec 2012 #25
-..__... Dec 2012 #32
MrYikes Dec 2012 #27
justanidea Dec 2012 #28
jsr Dec 2012 #31
nadinbrzezinski Dec 2012 #33
Javaman Dec 2012 #36
Atman Dec 2012 #37
The Straight Story Dec 2012 #39
X_Digger Dec 2012 #40
Nye Bevan Dec 2012 #38

Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:28 AM

1. I'm not concerned, but it probably could be used to make all the parts needed to build your own gun.

I saw a video of it making a working wrench with moving parts and other items.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:08 AM

29. And I looked into it rather and the issue isn't the printer or evading detection.


The issue is not about assembling all the parts.

The issue is that gun laws in this country are so fucked up that you can buy an AR-15 assault rifle that is nearly complete except for the lower receiver.

Then you can print a plastic lower receiver to substitute for the high strength steel part.

HOWEVER.

The results are very poor indeed.

http://boingboing.net/2012/12/04/3d-printed-gun-fires-6-shots.html

This one breaks apart after 6 shots with rounds that have only a small fraction of the normal powder charge and much less muzzle velocity.

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Response to slampoet (Reply #29)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:18 AM

30. The lower receiver *is* the gun, according to federal law.

That's the portion that requires a background check when you purchase it from an FFL. If you make your own (plastic via 3d printing or metal with a CNC mill), you can't sell it without a license from the BATFE.

Folks have been making their own firearms for as long as there have been firearms.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #30)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:54 PM

43. With that in mind, i can see why it is easy for Mexican Cartels to get assault rifles.

just buy the rest of the gun and have a shop guy make the lower receivers or import them from a country that might now even know what they are for.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #1)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:38 PM

41. The hard part would be the barrel/chamber.

The barrel has to be incredibly strong to withstand the heat and pressure from the exploding gunpowder, contain the explosion to direct the force into propelling the bullet - there's a reason why barrels are almost always made of tough steel alloys.

It would take a miracle to make a barrel out of the plastic used in 3-d printers that could actually fire a single bullet.

Though OTOH, there are 3-d printers out there that can make metal parts - they use a metal powder, and use a laser to sinter the powder into solid metal, layer by layer. In the end, you'd probably still have to do some serious milling - the inside of the barrel needs the rifling, which needs to be very smooth and have micrometer-level precision. I suspect the 3-d printers capable of making a part like that aren't something easily affordable by the home hobbyist...

In any case, kiss goodbye to your chances of being able to walk through a metal detector with that thing without setting it off.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:34 AM

2. It's a continuation of the 'glock' scare.

No, at the very least, the chamber, striker / firing pin, and barrel would have to be made of metal.

People have been legally making their own guns for a long time. You can't sell them, and in some states, you can't even transfer them to your heirs if you don't put a serial number on it.

Kinda goofy thing to be up in arms (pun intentional) about.

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Response to X_Digger (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:55 AM

17. I'm afraid

My morning coffee nearly got burnt. I'll let you know how scared I am about my toast.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:34 AM

3. They have 3d printers that can print metal now.

A printed gun would probably be capable of firing a shot or two.

Of course as kids, we could fire a shotgun shell using a piece of copper pipe, elastic, and a car antenna.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:36 AM

4. Yep

 

Enough to kill somebody

I think this could be a problem

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Response to Mangoman (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:37 AM

5. Yeah, and this is only a prototype, imagine the capabilities of 3D printers in 20 years.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #5)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:39 AM

8. But of course

 

In order to print a gun you would need to scan a gun

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Response to Mangoman (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:41 AM

9. Or download the cad/cam file. n/t

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Response to Mangoman (Reply #8)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:42 AM

11. Not really.. there are open-source CAD designs..

Folks have been using CNC mills and lathes to machine firearm parts for as long as there have been home CNC mills.

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Response to FSogol (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:41 AM

10. Now there's an app for that!

Probably.

When I was a kid, it was the potato gun. My best school buddy, Joe, still has the big scar under his left eye from where the metal tube kicked back into his face. Hell, today, we can't even have crib rails that go up and down, or lawn darts. I think that stuff tended to help weed out the herd.

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Response to Atman (Reply #10)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:46 AM

26. You are literally correct.

There IS an app for that. 3D models can be constructed using Blender (a very powerful open source 3D modeling/texturing/animation/audio & video compositing production suite) and then uploaded to Shapeways, which will print and then ship your model to you.

They can print your models in a variety of materials, from a white, strong & flexible material, to gold, silver, steel, brass, and frosted glass.

Here are a few examples of usable products printed by Shapeways:


Steampunk Dice

iPod Nano Bracelet

Twin-rail Moebius Pendant (note the incredible smoothness of the bearings- those were printed in situ)

iPhone 4/4s Case

And lots, lots more. It really is an amazing technology that is altering how we manufacture products in the now.



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Response to FSogol (Reply #3)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:48 PM

42. i'm betting in just a few years, we'll be seeing huge advances in the tech.

the capability is already there, it's now a matter of making the machines cost-effective. my understanding is that the prototype metal 3d printers can already "print" metal as dimensionally accurate as anything we can machine, as well as the proper heat treat and surface finish. when this technology matures, it will be revolutionary to manufacturing. i'll likely be out of a job, but i'm still excited for it.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:37 AM

6. The REAL paranoia...

 

...is that those printers will render industrial manufacturers unnecessary, and thus making CNN's advertisers unnecessary. Just following the money...

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:39 AM

7. Can't say for sure without know exactly what the possible range of medium that the process uses,

 

but it is certainly possible. Plastic guns have been around for quite some time and the mechanisms themselves are not complicated at all. The story I read about the printer itself says that the tolerances (40 ) are more than adequate to produce a firearm, so it comes down to how strong the material the printer uses is.

But I don't see anything to get freaked out about.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:42 AM

12. 3D printing will trump computers in importance. nt

 

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Response to Comrade_McKenzie (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:46 AM

13. Here's a free open source DIY 3d Printer you can build.

Then you can print out parts to build more 3d printers. If I had more free time, I'd mess around with it.

http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page

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Response to Comrade_McKenzie (Reply #12)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:08 AM

20. My son is a software architect and says this is "the next big thing."

His company is seriously focusing on 3D printing applications as part of its future. He is so behind this, it's kind of amazing. He is adamant...this is the future. Everything else will take a back seat once this technology is fine-tuned. Or so he says.

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Response to Atman (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:21 AM

22. Does he know Mrs. Robinson?

 

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Response to -..__... (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:48 AM

34. Funny...my grandfather made his money in "plastics."

Literally, had a molding company in Western Massachusetts back when plastics were "new." We used to love collecting all the hardened overflow from the molding machines and selling to friends as "sculptures."

Plastics! He wound up making a fortune molding toilet seats for American Standard! LOL!

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:48 AM

14. They can

and they will, and I'm about as frightened as discovering that people invented fire and metal-working.

Seriously?

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:48 AM

15. It's going to revolutionize the table top miniature wargaming culture.

 

Scan a figure, print off an army.

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:51 AM

16. That sounds fun, actually

Warhammer with an army or DND on a computer. Oh wait. LOL

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Response to RomneyLies (Reply #15)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:01 AM

18. There are a lot of hobbies that will benefit..

I used to mess around with radio controlled trucks. I can't tell you how many little bits of plastic I had to replace every time we went out playing. If I could 'print out' a pile of axles or struts, it would be awesome.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:07 AM

19. The sex toy market will drive this technology

to perfection. Watch for it.

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:33 AM

23. So will we be able to scan a picture

and print a full size copy of Jessica Alba



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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:52 AM

35. As long as I can enlarge my scan in Photoshop.

And use black ink.

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Response to LeftinOH (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:55 PM

44. ROFL

I bet you are absolutely right

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:18 AM

21. It is the end of industrialist'

 

Just imagine no more demand for the cheap machine parts from china and what that will do to the CEO's bonuses.
Its a printable Armageddon!
"Get my therapist on the phone,and another one while I'm waiting"!

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:39 AM

24. It is scare tactics, but the reason is copyrights, not public safety.

Yes, people are actually trying to print firearms with 3D printers. Because of the materials, they've had mixed success.

But firearms are not what scares corporate America, it is intellectual property.

3D printers will allow you to copy objects as easily as we copy music and video files. This directly threatens companies that manufacture objects. Why go to WalMart for cheap plastic items that can be printed at home?

Raising the issue of firearms is a way to open the door for regulating 3D printing. If you can control 3D printers, you can control what is and is not printed. Print out a new door handle for you car? Ford would like to have a word with you...

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:45 AM

25. ^^^ This! n/t

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #24)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:28 AM

32. Spot on.

 

My concern is that we'll have a situation where the printers will be affordable, but the print media/materials will be drastically overpriced or diluted.

Think about how much a printer costs nowadays compared to the cost of replacement cartridges, and how
printer manufacturers were incised and sought legal action on aftermarket cartridge vendors.

I wouldn't put it past them to only make available (at least to the general public), 'weakened' print media/materials that have limited use... you can print that toy car, ornament, knick-nack, but forget about anything with any functional purpose or durability... no tools, replacement parts or guns.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 10:52 AM

27. Yes you can make a lower receiver for an ar15 in 22 caliber,

but you can also print out a pair of shoes. And maybe one day, food.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:08 AM

28. Its always been legal to manufacture your own guns

 

Provided you dont sell them to anyone else.

The whole plastic gun thing is laughable. Sure you can make the frame out of plastic but the barrel and most of the internal parts must still be metal.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:23 AM

31. What's the markup for the ink?

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:33 AM

33. There is a potential

And our friends at CIA are rumored to use a one time use gun for targeted assassinations that are made of high impact plastics.

Key word, tricky phrase...one time use.

I am sure the CNN reporter ran into tat story and conflated it with three D printing. The plastics used in those are not the same plastics right now.

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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 11:54 AM

36. You were saying...

The 3D-printed gun: When is high-tech too hot to handle?
http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/137269-the-3d-printed-gun-when-is-high-tech-too-hot-to-handle

Aspiring gun maker has 3D-printer revoked over plans to print firearms
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-10-03/news/34243374_1_stratasys-printer-3d

Making guns in your garage: how 3D printers will revolutionise the manufacture of deadly weapons
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/micwright/100007925/making-guns-in-your-garage-how-3d-printers-will-revolutionise-the-manufacture-of-deadly-weapons/

The Morality Of Making Guns On A 3D Printer
http://www.businessinsider.com/3d-printer-guns-morality-2012-11

Make a working GUN using a 3D printer...


DIY gun project misfires as 3D printer is seized
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22323-diy-gun-project-misfires-as-3d-printer-is-seized.html

I think that's enough for now, but there are plenty more.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #36)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:15 PM

37. No one said you couldn't print a gun. But can you FIRE it?

The question is whether or not these plastics can withstand the combustion of an exploding bullet. You can print a gun, you can print a valve for your car engine...but with these plastics hold up to use? Again, no doubt that you CAN print the object, but can you use it?

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Response to Atman (Reply #37)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:26 PM

39. A little more info:

Have Blue's 3D-printed converted AR-15.

After a few modifications to the original file, he set to work fabricating the receiver using around $30 of ABS filament fed through his Stratasys printer. After prototyping a small-scale model, he fabricated the full-size receiver and used it to fire 200 rounds without catastrophic failure. The proof of concept of manufacturing a 3D-printed weapon was a complete success. Now the door is open for others to try their hand at the home weapons manufacturing business.

A group of hobbyists (most of them college students) have banded together to form a company known as Defense Distributed to expand on the 3D-printed weapons systems and provide open-source software to anyone who wants it. Defense Distributed began its quest with the Wiki Weapon Project, which aims to provide all the necessary CAD software for manufacturing plastic firearms using any 3D printer. The group expanded on Have Blue's AR-15 to prove the concept of building weapons with a printer. However, instead of testing Have Blue's .22 conversion build, the group went ahead with an AR-15 conversion in 5.7x28FN, which has more firepower than a .22 but provides less pressure than the standard .223 round.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1394&doc_id=255741&dfpPParams=ind_186,bid_26,aid_255741&dfpLayout=blog


http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021966462

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #39)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:32 PM

40. I think the confusion lies in which parts are fabricated from the printer..

I can print a 'firearm' (aka, receiver) from plastic and it would work- given that some portions of it like the chamber / bolt / barrel were metal- parts that aren't strictly the 'firearm' itself.

From the designnews story:

The group printed the lower receiver...




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Response to Atman (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 12:22 PM

38. >print ak47.gun /que=3dprinter (nt)

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